“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” (Gal. 4:4-5)

 

Dear brothers and sisters,

Again in this God-given year you will gather around the icon, the Christmas candle, the badnjak (yule log) and česnica, to celebrate the Nativity according to flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is our wish that you do this with the greatest spiritual joy in your homes, but first of all in God’s church, actively participating in holy services and receiving the Sacrament of Holy Communion.  Then you will have truly celebrated Christmas, and felt the indescribable spiritual fulfillment, peace, joy and love of Christ that exceeds all reason (Eph. 3:19).  But we will show this, even more evidently, through our beneficial faith that, in the words of the holy apostle Paul works through love (Gal. 5:6).  Or, as another holy Apostle teaches us, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26).

These words were pronounced nearly two thousand years ago yet they are always contemporary.  The Brother of the Lord by flesh, Holy Apostle James, advises his contemporaries and tribesmen that theoretical faith, or faith by mouth and words, is on its own dead.

The Holy Apostles also warn us to keep our faith alive.  For, truly, if we want to welcome the Holy Christmas holidays in an evangelic way, then we can only do that with a working faith.  This would give the greatest joy to the God-child.  There is nothing He needs, though He asks us to be merciful toward His little brethren (Matt. 12:48-50; 18:5).

Up until now you have demonstrated your faith through your works, beloved brothers and sisters, contributing to your Diocese, her churches, the monastery and those brothers who need material and spiritual help.  Clement of Alexandria states, “Sins are driven out with charity and works of faith”.  Show our love toward our tormented brothers and sisters in Serbian Kosovo and Metohija.  They have no one other than God and us.

We await Christ’s Birth with a merciful heart toward all.  For He said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matt. 5:7).  We always have in mind the words of the First most high of the Apostles, “And above all have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins”   (1Pet. 4:8).

Sending you my paternal blessing, we wholeheartedly greet you with the joyous words:

PEACE FROM GOD – CHRIST IS BORN!

INDEED HE IS BORN!

HAPPY AND BLESSED 2019!

Your intercessor before Christ the God-child,

BISHOP OF CANADA MITROPHAN