Christmas Message from His Eminence Gabriel, Archbishop of Comana

“THE PEOPLE WHO WALKED IN DARKNESS HAVE SEEN A GREAT LIGHT; THOSE WHO DWELT IN THE LAND OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT HAS SHINED.” (Isaiah 9:2)

Your Graces, dear Fathers, Dear brothers and sisters,

Behold, the time of the Nativity is nigh, the time of the Light, the time of Salvation and I am happy to wish you great Peace on the occasion of this feast in which our hearts rejoice!

“Peace on earth and good will among men!”

More than 2000 years ago this Light, of which Isaiah speaks in his prophecy, came in the midst of mankind to restore their hope. Every year, ever since this event we celebrate Christ, the Light of the world. But what impact does the mystery of the Incarnation have on our lives? What changes have taken place in our hearts when we relive the revelation of Mercy and Compassion of our Lord? In brief, have our lives been transfigured in the face of this “Joyful Light of the Holy Glory of the Father”? (Vesperal hymn).

Do we allow this Light to enter into us each year, to illumine our own darkness? For such is the purpose of the coming of Christ among men; that every one of us, no matter what situation we find ourselves in, can find consolation and rejoice from the very depth of our hearts!

We know well that we have our own darkness! Fed by our own faults, our weaknesses, our poverty ... But that is why it is important to remember that the coming of Christ among us is not that of a judge who condemns or rejects us, but that of GOD Who is LOVE, and Who comes to heal our painful wounds and pours out the balm of His mercy!

This is why our hearts should be joyful: the Light of God, gentle and life-giving, allows us truly to see ourselves. Knowing that we are beloved of God, we no longer fear our own wretchedness and above all can allow God Himself to see us as we are.

As the sun gives light to the world and dispels the darkness, so Christ, like a beacon, brings light to the heart of every being and makes the smallest darkness disappear.

High on the hill, like the father of the prodigal son, like a beacon of light, Christ becomes for us a touchstone of hope nourished by an infinite source which is called Love. Thus the Light comes into our darkness, this is how our Peace is given, this is how Life comes to fill our being.

If the Church in its holy teaching invites us each year to relive this mystery, it is so that step by step, we allow ourselves to be visited by the One who said: “I am the Light of the world”.

So, together with the shepherds and the magi let us rejoice: “Come, let us worship and fall down before Christ”. (small entrance at the Liturgy).

I embrace you, Brothers and Sisters, and say again to you with all my love: Christ is born, Glorify Him! Amen.

Paris, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral Christmas, 2009.

+Archbishop Gabriel of Comana, Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch

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