Dear Brothers and Sisters! Beloved in the Lord!
The Apostle John testifies, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us.” (1 John 1:1, 2, ESV)
There is no event that is more joyful for any family and any home than the birth of a baby. The hustle and bustle breaks off, the habitual pace of life stops, family members get together to take the first look at the person who has come into the world. A new life has begun. It didn’t exist, and now it has appeared. Leaning over the cradle, the parents and relatives stand in awe before the greatest mystery, the greatest value on this earth—the gift of life.
In this Christmas season, the whole human race, the whole universe bows over the manger in Bethlehem because under the starry sky appears He who once spread these heavens. He who once breathed the breath of life into the face of the first man takes His first breath. He whose coming many generations have been waiting for is born. Christ comes into the world in order to begin a new era in history—an era of grace, mercy and love.
“The life which was with the Father was made manifest to us,” says the Apostle proclaiming that the Creator desired to overcome through His Son the abyss of sin that separates us from God and to stay with us forever as the Lord Himself announced later: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. ” (John 10:10, ESV)
Life was made manifest—beyond the control of time, beyond the control of death. Eternal life has appeared to sinful earth in the infant God-Man. Laid in the manger, in a trough for animals, the Lord revealed what He later told His disciples directly, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.” (Jn 6:51, ESV)
Life has appeared! This joyous Feast of the Nativity is called to remind us that no matter what happens, no matter what difficulties await us, the main thing has already taken place—sin has been defeated, death has been overcome, the door of salvation has been opened! And even though the Kingdom of God has not yet come visibly, we know for certain that it is within us. It is the righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit given by Christ. And one day this mystery which is now hidden will be revealed with great power and glory as the Apostle proclaims, “When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Col. 3:4, ESV)
We shall live! Blessed Christmas!
Bishop Ivan Laptev