Beloved children in Christ Born in the flesh for our salvation,
This is the time of year when traditionally we would see “manger displays” set up outside. In many places, this has even become an outlawed practice - an external expression of faith that is now no longer ”politically correct.”
However, there is no demand for us to build roadway mangers. What we are called to do - without which we cannot expect salvation - is to make our hearts mangers that Christ may find rest in them!
Christ is born in the stable of animals and laid to rest in their manger, in order to turn those of us of fallen nature that had become animal-like into the logical flock.
The cave He made a useful implement, and the manger was heated with the fire of the Godhead. He is born in a cave in the wilderness to show us that He belongs to no city or country, but rather is there for all of mankind for those who will venture out to find Him.
Christ is born in poverty to spiritually enrich the race of Adam, of which we are all descendants! Our common heritage is regenerated from it’s fallen state!
Christ is wrapped in swaddling clothes to unbind us from the lowly mindfulness of worldly matters which constrict our hearts and minds.
Christ is born in a Bethlehem that is at that time under Roman rule to show us that only one nation matters - the Kingdom of the heavens which was born together with the birth of our Saviour. He came into communion with the race of Adam, in no way being defiled by doing so, but rather raised that race to the heavenly realms.
Earlier, Joseph the Betrothed had planned to discreetly send the Theotokos away, but was assured by an angel to ignore the battle that was going on in his mind, and to call the One coming into this world in the flesh “Emmanuel,” that is, “God with us.” What more do we need?
Christ came down from the heavens at His earthly birth not to make this world heaven, but rather to call mankind to the heavenly - the pursuit of which is the only means for true peace!
Receive, O Christ, our incarnated God, our gifts that we imperfectly offer to a Child that is eternal God. Deem us also worthy to sing with the heavenly hosts "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will among men."
Humbly begging at the entrance of that cave for Nativity blessings for all of you, Christ’s small flock,
Bishop of Pallini and Western Europe