“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we saw His glory- the glory of the Only Begotten from the Father, filled with grace and truth” (Jn.1,14)

Christ is Born! Praise Him!

Dear Beloved in Christ!

Today we reflect once more upon the mystery of the Nativity of Christ. Whole generations awaited the coming of God. Old Testament prophets wrote about this event. Humanity awaits the coming of God, who has so loved it that He becomes one of us. Through this event of the Incarnation we begin to understand God’s plan for mankind.

“The people who walked in darkness saw a great light- God is with us” (Great Ves¬pers)

When God came on earth, the event was not pre¬ceded with lightning and thunder. There were none of these amazing signs which could elicit awe among people. The Eternal God comes to mankind in the form of a child. He comes quietly and humbly in a dark night when the people sleep. Why in the image of a child? When we contemplate this we uncover simple truths. A small child is helpless and unprotected and depends on others. No one is afraid to approach it, neither old nor young, poor or rich. The child thanks to its smile and wordless love is able to call out ease and peace. Because of this God chose this image. He is unprotected before our free will and depends on our choice. We choose to accept Him or not. Humble, poor shepherds come to Him lying in the crib and they bring as gifts to Him only their warmth. But wealthy kings also come who bring rich gifts. God by His love and myrrh can fill our hearts. We need only receive Him and understand that He is born not only 2000 years ago but that He is born in our hearts today in such a turbulent year as 2001. He is born to change daily experiences of everyone. He comes to divide fear and trepidation, to divide pain of loss and doubt. The place of this birth is our heart. Perhaps it is dark right now as it was on that night when Jesus was born. However, as a result of his birth light can shine in the darkest recesses of our heart. And we will understand that God is with us.

“Mary solicitously preserved all this, pondering in her heart.”

What was Mary pondering in her heart? She was pondering on the mystery that had appeared through her and of which she became a participant. She pondered because she did not have all the answers to questions which occurred in her life. She was pondering because the mystery of God’s presence had opened up before her amongst this dark and cruel world. She pondered because she understood that Her Child is the Son of the Al¬mighty. Perhaps, we too do not have all the answers to questions that appear in our world. Therefore, Mary teaches us to ponder upon this, to pray that God does not take away from us certain trials but that He gives us strength and grace to take this path together with Him Let us ponder and we shall retain this grace for God’s presence in our life.

“Joseph did as the angel of the Lord bid him” (Mt.1, 24)

Although there is not one word spoken by Joseph in the Gospel of the NT, his person spoke without words. He was betrothed to Mary and it is certain that he had plans for his life. However, God chooses him to be the guardian for His Son and his mother. A big calling and at the same time a great respon¬sibility. This is why the angel comes to him and says “Don’t be afraid Joseph.”

And he gives Joseph his first task “And you shall give Him the name Jesus.” It wasn’t easy to accept God’s plan. However, believing the Almighty he does as the angel of the Lord wills. St.joseph is the head of the family and his life is always filled with trials and suffering from the time of Jesus’ birth. He goes to the census with Mary who has come to the time of birth. He searches for a place in the inn but does not find any place. He is forced to take his family and flee into far away foreign places in order to protect the life of the child Jesus.

Today we also experience certain trials caused by the coronavirus pandemic. We do not know how long this will last and when our life is restored to normal. We do not have certitude in tomorrow’s day. Therefore, the example of Mary and Joseph is an example for every family: how to trust God, how to overcome difficulties, how to value family and each other. Their example teaches us how to be together and how to be open to cooperate with God.

May the Holy Family be a guide in our journey to God. Allow Jesus to be born in our families.

I wish you a joyful feast of the Nativity of Christ and at same time a blessed 2021 year of God. May the Newborn Child Jesus grant our hearts peace and the certitude that God is with us!

Christ is Born! Praise Him!

+ Mykola Bychok CSSr.

Eparch of Melbourne, Australia of Sts. Peter and Paul