To the clergy, monastics, and all the sons and daughters of our God-protected Diocese of Canada of the Serbian Orthodox Church: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, with the joyous Nativity greeting:
Peace from God! Christ is Born!
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh…” (1Tim. 3:16).We are surrounded with mysteries. This visible world is a mystery. The invisible world is a mystery. The cosmos or star system is a mystery. Every blade of grass is a mystery. We are a mystery to ourselves. And just how much of a mystery is our neighbour to us? That is why our great poet says, “Man is man’s biggest mystery”. Or, as elsewhere the Venerable Justin of Ćelije says: "And when your eye looks seriously at your neighbor's face, how many mysteries and riddles does it see there? And each one of them is on - a precipice!” But God is above all mysteries. He is incomprehensible. And we have come to know this mystery more fully by the Incarnation of the Son of God. That is a holy mystery. Christ is the mystery of all mysteries. He is a sacrament. He is the eternal mystery. And that is the mystery of faith, or as the Holy Apostle calls it godliness. Christmas showed what our meaning is: worship. Or in the words of St. Athanasius the Great: "God became man, that man might become God by grace." That is why St. John Chrysostom says somewhere that this is the feast of feasts. For without Bethlehem we cannot understand Theophany, Transfiguration, or Tribulation. If Christ had not incarnated, none of this would have happened. He explained the meaning of our lives. Or in other words: He is the meaning of our lives. He is also the only thing new under this firmament of heaven. And will remain so. He always makes all things new (Rev. 21: 5). We live in a world that is reduced to the material and the consumer, in a world that is moving away from God and His Church. Not only that, but man is distancing himself from his neighbor, and even from himself. He does not find the meaning of his life. "Outside the God-man, the thought of man is utterly meaningless," said one of our great theologians. He goes on to say, “It is torment, utter torment… to be a man without the God-man Christ; and joy beyond all joy to be a man with the God-man Christ. " Christmas is a holiday to return to God, the Church, our holy ancestors, and ultimately to ourselves. How many Christian families fall apart every day? How many children are crying because of that? How many are alone, abandoned, rejected, despised, sick, old and young? A splendid poem of our great poet comes to mind: Tomorrow is the Feast, its light is soft, The icon lamp is casting and my room is lit up, Alone, alone, out of the corner the old clock is beating, And the silent moments imperceptibly flow… That is why we remember, dear brothers and sisters, at the cradle of the God-child, all of them. Let us help them materially and spiritually. Because of them, the Son of God was incarnate, as He was for us. He "became poor so that we through His poverty might become rich " (2 Cor. 8: 9). Let us not forget His words, “Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward." (Mark 9:41). Thank you for all your help, whether financial, material or in work, to our Diocese, our Monastery, churches and every unfortunate. May the Lord repay you a hundredfold with every “good gift and every perfect present” (James 1:17) in the New 2020. May He bless you with His heavenly blessing and reward you with the eternal Kingdom.
We send you heartfelt greetings with these joyous words:
PEACE FROM GOD! CHRIST IS BORN!
A HAPPY AND GOD BLESSED 2020 YEAR OF SALVATION!
Your intercessor before the God-child Christ,
BISHOP OF CANADA