The Christmas message of Bishop Sylvanus of Peterhof, Rector of St. Petersburg Theological Academy, Co-Chairman of the Working Group for the Cooperation of The Russian Orthodox Church with The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.
To Bishop Ivan Laptev, Head of The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Lk. 2:14, ESV)
For more than 2000 years Christians have experienced an intrinsically unique night, joining in with the hosts of heaven glorifying the coming of the Divine Baby Christ into the world. Every year during this season, the hearts of believers are filled with special warmth and love, the feelings they always have in response to God’s humility and condescension which Christ showed when He was born in Bethlehem. Nothing can warm man’s heart and fill it with joy like the thought that God is with us. (Mt. 1:23)
It is impossible to keep the joy of our Savior’s birth within—it is so great that you just want to share it with the whole world. That is the star of Bethlehem, which has been shining for the world through centuries, making the Creator’s coming known to it. In conjunction with a sincere disposition of the heart, ardent faith, and works of mercy, it testifies in all times that God whose name is Love was really born on this earth.
On this joyful day, I hope that the Divine Baby Christ touches everyone who is willing to let Him into themselves in order to transform them and fill them with light, warmth, and love. I sincerely wish you to be a fellow-participant in, and an eyewitness of, making our Savior manifest to the world! May the season of Christmas fill your heart and the hearts of your loved ones with light, hope, and love.
With love in the Lord,
Bishop of Peterhof
Rector of St. Petersburg Theological Academy