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Thorns

Divine grace is God’s influence which operates in order to regenerate, to sanctify, to inspire Christian virtues, and also to strengthen the inner man to overcome temptations and to endure the trials of daily life.

Feast of the Nativity
The Nativity of Our Lord
The Nativity of Our Lord
The Nativity of Our Lord

Members & Friends of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church,

The icon of the Nativity of our Lord is of His lying in a manger, helpless, and in the dark of night, in need of total sustenance; in poverty he appears to us. Christ comes to us all the poorest of the poor, as the most helpless of all creation, surrounded by animals He created. Our minds become fixed on this innocent child, our hearts are moved to compassion, and we tenderly accept this child, the Savior of the world. We embrace him unconditionally and kiss with the same tender love a parent receives their own new-born. As an adult however, we reject him. The joy of accepting him as a child is easy compared to the pain and struggle of receiving him into our hearts as the Son of God; not simply as a man, but as God taking on human flesh (Incarnation), and living among us, which causes confusion and makes us flee.  

Few will reject the Christ-child; many more reject him as the Incarnate Son of God. Yet it is precisely this dichotomy which needs to be reconciled and repaired in our hearts. Christ comes as a dazzling and brilliant light, in order than we can become equally as dazzling and brilliant, so “that we may become sons of light” (John 12:36). His light illumines and pierces the darkness so that we can possess the light. Christ himself plunges into our lives as Light – “God is light” (I John 1:5) – so that we can know him, and the Father and the Holy Spirit, so that we can embrace Christ in our hearts (II Cor. 4:6), so that we can have life eternal with Him in the Father.

Our response and conscious decision to all this? Darkness, chaos, confusion, ignorance, arrogance … and although he was born once and forever, and certainly in no to need to do it again, he does so. Christ is Born today, the angels in heaven sing today … the wise men bear gifts today … Christ is Born today. He is born into a darkened world, and he enters into it as Light. His light illumines so that the illumination of the infant Savior can save us. That light produces peace and joy, which produces communion with the Father. By possessing the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, we ourselves become light.
 
In all our relationships, especially those with our friends and family, and indeed our enemies, let us pray that we may become light to them, that they can perceive, and in turn, joyfully receive that light. And that in the final analysis, let us hope that the radiance of God’s Incarnation consumes a fallen creation, a world which both accepts and rejects Christ at this very moment. May the Light of Christ’s Nativity, which illumines our lives, illumine the entire world.  

- Fr Marc Vranes
Feast of the Nativity, 2014

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