- December 22, 2001
Apostolic benediction to our beloved spiritual children: venerable Chor-episcopos, esteemed priests, the reverend deacons and the respectful faithful of our Malankara Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church in North America
"Abide in me, and I in you..." (St. John 15: 4)
As we approach the Christmas season, we are reading again and again the prophecies concerning the coming of Christ. With the shepherds, we should listen to the angels who announced His birth. With the wise men, we should seek Him and bow down before Him. With the apostles, we should recognize Him as the Son of God in human flesh. We need to know arid respond to the great truth that the gift of God came to Bethlehem. The prophet had declared that Christ would bear the name Emmanuel, interpreted as God with us (Isa. 7:14. Matt. 1:22-23).
Christ was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and from the Virgin Mary, Mother of God and laid in a manger. Through faith in Christ we are born into the family of God. The Gods Spirit dwells in each of us, and we became a dwelling place of God. (I Cor 3:16, Gal. 4:6-7) The Word became flesh in a miraculous incarnation. He was not simply the Son of Mary but He was the Son of God. In this Christmas time we should remember that His greatest gift to us was His life, offered for our atonement on the cross. He will become our Savior if we forsake the sin of unbelief and come to Him for forgiveness and new life. He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Then He comes into our life if we open the door of our hearts and invite Him to enter. We already got a great promise from Him. Abide in in me and I in you...". If we prepare a place for Christ to be born in our hearts, surely He will come to live in the heart of each one of us. This makes joy to every one. Then only we can say as St. Paul declares, "Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20). The Christ of Bethlehem becomes Christ in our hearts.
The Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will come into our hearts and enable us to live by the principal of love. He grants us the joy of Christmas and makes us live a radiant life. He produces the fruit of peace within us to establish right relationship with our neighbors. He will install kindness within us that we may do generous acts for others. May the love and peace of Christmas abide with you throughout the New Year. We wish you all a warm Christmas and a pleasant New Year.
We extend our Apostolic Blessings to you all. May the grace of God be with you.
Our Father Who art in heaven, ...
Issued at our Patriarchal
house in Damascus, Syria
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