Sermon – The Sermon of the Holy Nativity
The Sermon of the Holy Nativity
By V. Rev. Timothy Baclig
December 25, 2022
St. John Chrysostom, who wrote the magnificent Paschal Homily which is read at each Paschal service in Orthodox Churches throughout the world, also wrote a very profound Christmas Homily in the fourth century. Within it he asks the question: What was the reason that the Only Begotten Son of God, [who had no beginning, and Who eternally existed with the Father and The Spirit;] “Who cannot be touched or to be perceived…, [without a body, took on a body, becoming visible and inevitably liable to corruption]?
This was his answer (translated from English to American): “[So] that coming among us He may teach us, and [by] teaching, lead us by the hand to the things that men cannot see.” Going on, he says, “For since men believe that the eyes are more trustworthy than the ears, they doubt that which they do not see. And so [God has willed] to show Himself in a bodily presence, that He may remove all doubt… [God] finding the holy body and soul of the Virgin, builds for Himself a living temple, and as He had willed, formed [in her] a man from the Virgin, [built] a living temple, and as He had willed, formed [in her] a man from the Virgin… and… this day came forth; unashamed of the lowliness of our nature. For [to] Him [it] was not a lowering [in putting] on what He Himself had made… which became the [garment] of its own Creator. For [just] as in [the beginning at] the creation of [human] flesh, man could not be made before the clay had come into His hand, so neither could this corruptible body be glorified, until it had first become the [garment] of its Maker.”
This, my dear brothers and sisters is the great and awesome mystery of God’s love for us. A personal love by example, teaching us how we must meet each other in person: where they are, just as they are; not expecting them to meet us, or that they become what we want them to be before we consider them worthy of having any conversation with us. No. Meeting our brother and sister where they are, just as they are, and showing them, as God has showed us, by His physical and visible presence and by which He now empowers us by His Spirit, to be that light in a dark world, lost and terribly confused; bewildered and sad.
St. John concludes with these words: “He has decreed that ignominy [meaning: public shame or disgrace] shall become honor, infamy [meaning: being known for some bad deed] be clothed with glory, and total humiliation [be] the measure of His Goodness. For He assumed my body, that I may become capable of His Word [His Truth]; taking my [human] flesh, He gives me His Spirit; [thereby] He bestowing and I receiving, He prepares for me the treasure of Life.
Come, then, let us observe the Feast… Truly wondrous is the whole [account] of the Nativity. For [on] this day the ancient slavery is ended, the devil confounded, the demons take to flight, the error driven out, truth has been brought back, the speech of kindness spreads everywhere, a heavenly way of life has been implanted on earth, angels communicate with men without fear, and men now speak with angels… God is now on earth and man in heaven… He became Flesh. He did not become God. He was God. Wherefore He became flesh [in order] that He, by whom all things are nourished, may receive an infants food from His Virgin Mother… To Him, then, Who out of confusion has brought a clear path, to Christ, to the Father, and the Holy Spirit, we offer praise, now and forever. Amen.
Christ is born, glorify Him!