The Sermon of Christmas
The Sermon of Christmas
What a cheerful day, what a beautiful awesome night on which we gather together to give praise to the newly born baby of the manager, thus celebrating the passing of 2015 years since the fulfillment of the “pledge” in the meantime. My dear fellows, on this day, more than 21 centuries ago was the fulfillment of the divine pledge while was given to Adam and Eve that a woman born will crush the power of Satan. Humanity waited for ages and ages for the coming of “Shilone” who will deliver the peoples. Therefore, my dear beloved follows it is good for us all, on this blessed night, to contemplate on all the good deeds that God fulfilled throughout the ages for our sake aiming only at our salvation, safety, and contentment. Our Lord Jesus Christ bore a lot of pain and hardship to grant us bounteous graces through the miraculous incarnation. We will contemplate these graces together as fits our time and circumstances.
First: He descended and was incarnated: The fall of Adam and Eve drew up an invincible barrier between man and God. The whole of humanity failed to reach up to God almighty as a result of the poignant fall. There was no other alternative than that God Himself would descend from up-high to lift us up to Himself!! Amazingly, He did, the creator of heaven and earth who is everywhere in the universe, took a body and appeared in the shape of a human being. This does not humiliate Him in any way, it was only meant for Him to be similar to us, human beings in all aspects but is, to fulfill our salvation by means of a human body. Adam and Eve trespassed against God, almighty, who has no limit. The penalty if death, therefore, the one who pays for tor this sin must have three qualifications:
First: that one must be a human being (i.e. flesh and blood) because the one who sinned is a human.
Second: that one must be without sin, to be all to pay the debt of the sinner. No sinner can save a sinner.
Third: that one must be unlimited because the trespass against the unlimited God. That’s why the Lord Christ descended from this heavenly throne degrading himself (willingly) from all heavenly powers and sublimity, was incarnated taking the form of a human being similar to us all in order to save all people. No one, throughout human history was even found to hold these three characteristics which left no other alternative than God Himself to descend from up high to accomplish this stunning mission. Divine justice decreed that Adam and Eve be banished from His divine presence. Yet, divine mercy wished to relieve man from this punishment. As a result, the incarnation of the Lord Christ mingled righteousness and peace, allowing mercy and Justice to meet through this amazing birth of the Christ.
Therefore, the Lord Christ, as for as humanity is concerned, is a complete human being, as He was from of the virgin Mary from whom He took flesh and blood formed in her womb for nine months. So he is a true complete human being.
As for as being without sin, He is the only Holy one as arch angel Gabriel told our Lady virgin Mary, on the day of ‘annunciation”: “so, the Holy one to be born will be called the son of God (Luke 1)
As for Him being equal to God the Father, the sensible word of God. The Christ is the Logos that was incarnated and appeared among us as a human being, witnessing His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14)
Therefore, all characteristics required for the expected savior are fulfilled in the person of the Lord the Christ. No one else could ever have fulfilled these requirements. Hence we regard the Lord Christ the only savior.
Second: He offered salvation without regret or hesitance. The Lord Christ stepped unto earth aiming at redeeming all humanity despite the barrier that resided between men and God. Humanity was aware of the fact that a savior was to come, despite the barrier, as there were enough prophecies in the Old Testament about this Savior, mentioning His clear characteristics which leaves no doubt about Him. It was prophesied that “He will be born of a virgin” and that He comes timidly and victorious, seated on a donkey’s colt” Heaven verified His birth though the apparition of the angels to the shepherds. The earth testified His birth through the arrival of the wise men from the East carrying meaningful presents: Gold referring to His Sovereignty, incense referring to His priesthood and myrrh referring to His forthcoming pain that He will bear patiently.
Despite all these clear signs and significant prophecies yet it is said, that the Lord that come to His people and His people didn’t recognize Him and did not accept Him. Furthermore, where He started His miracles to testify to His True Being, as was written about Him in the Old Testament. Unfortunately, the Jews didn’t pay attention to His miracles but rather raised doubts about these miracles as if not important. They would claim that it was by Beelzebub that He sends out demons. At other times they would consider Him a Samarian obsessed by demons. They even accused Him of eating with tax collectors and sinners. Even Simon, the Pharisee, who invited Jesus to have dinner with him, had doubts about Him, saying “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching Him and what king of woman she is that she is a sinner.” Luke 7:39. Despite all these disappointments, the Lord Christ never retreated His steps toward the cross, and never hesitated about fulfilling redemption. He is a clear example for true fatherhood that sacrifices everything for the sake of the children, even if they don’t realize it or are not fully aware of the danger surrounding them. He remains the Good Shepherd who sacrifices Himself for the sake of the hen even when hen isn’t aware of it.
The Lord the Christ has fulfilled His mission and pronounced it in John 17 “I have completed the work you gave me to do”. And on the cross He said His famous utterance: “It is complete”. He completed our redemption regardless of the rejection of humanity to Him, ignoring the challenges and false accusations that He faced while on His way to fulfill His mission
Thirdly: He granted us redemption for free; the most wonderful thing about the Lord’s redemption is the free salvation grated to all humanity. For, let’s assume that humans have grasped the aim belonging the incarnation of the Lord the Christ and have admitted the importance of redemption and their desire need for salvation would they even have been able to pay the price of this Redemption to God Almighty? This is the question that is still raised up till now, on the spiritual level; what price did God ask for in return for His redemption of humanity? And what did humanity offer in return?
The Lord Christ has suffered greatly while calling on humanity to accept His words, telling them: “If you don’t believe in what I say, at least believe in my deeds” But; unfortunately, humanity turned a deaf ear to His words and shunned Him from their hearts walking blind folded in the dark rejecting the salvation granted to them from heaven!! Despite all this the Lord Christ accomplished the salvation of humanity for free… in return He asked that our hearts, our inner soul be His, He said, “My son, offer me your heart and let your eyes watch out following in my steps” That’s why the priest would ask the congregation, at that beginning of the liturgy to lift their hearts to God, “where are your hearts? And they would answer, “it is with the Lord”. The question remains, Is it truly with the Lord” or somewhere else? This required that while we are living in this world, yet our inner self resides with the Lord. The status of humanity, today, is a real pity, for heaven has granted a supreme gift to heaven who was fallen and was banished- heaven looked for him to save him, and when no creature was able to save him, the Lord descended from up high, became a man, stepped on earth to grant him salvation. Yet humanity rejected the Christ. The Jews rejected Him, the Romans crucified Him, one of His disciples denied Him and another disciple betrayed Him. And there are still others who haven’t recognized Him till now. We pray for them to get to know Him and accept Him as a redeemer, savior, and God.
Despite all this, the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled the redemption of humanity for free. St. Paul, the apostle clarifying this, says, “Although sinners, the Christ died for our sake”
Moreover, after having opened up, for us, the gates of Heaven which was once shut before our faces, and often having forgiving us the sin of our early fathers inherited from Adam and Eve, He still accepts us once we return back to Him after every fall, forgiving us our sins and forgetting the sinful past as if it never happened.
Brethren, Heaven never delays in saving any human in all times and by all means yet the question remains: “what has humanity offer in return? .. In return to the bountiful love and sacrifice?!!
The answer is your heart and your heart only: Just ask yourself, each one of us should ask himself/ herself, where is my heart; Is it totally owned by God or by someone else? Some people have their hearts occupied by the love of money or wordily desire, pasts and power, some others have their hearts occupied by fame which is in vain or diminishing worldly glory. Very few would give their hearts wholly to Christ God with contentment.
The heart where the Lord Christ resides is full of love because “God is love”, so such hearts is full of enlightenment for “God is light” with no trace of darkness. Such a heart is full of joy, because Heaven knows no sadness; again such a heart is full of peace because our Christ is the “Prince of Peace”.
This is a call for all of us to review our hearts’ status. Let’s all review our inner self from a spiritual prospective and let us have our criteria, the Lord Jesus Christ to know where exactly we stand spiritually.
The heart is the outlet of life yet the Holy bible informed us that it is deceitful and unrighteous when it parts with God that is why we need to check our hearts’ status, every now and then, to make sure that we reach unto heaven safely.
We ask God to keep us safe and sound in His name without sin, growing up spiritually, purifying our hearts and inner-self, keeping it for eternal happiness. Many Happy returns… To God is the power and glory forever and ever. Amen