THE BIRTH OF THE SUN OF JUSTICE
Once again we find ourselves amid the blessed Christmas season, our hearts abound with joy at the dawning of a New Year which brings with it new beginnings, new dreams, and new hopes, and our souls are heartened by the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, radiating love and cheer around us. The “Great and Marvelous Mystery” revealed to the world centuries ago is once again revealed in our hearts and souls, endowing us with divine blessings of love and harmony. In that manger in Bethlehem over two thousand years ago, mankind received an indescribable gift as the Light of peace and justice permeated the world and illuminated a darkened world. “Today the Sun of Justice arose among man, good tidings!” (Armenian Christmas Hymn).
What transpired on that silent and holy night was the birth of God’s redemptive plan for mankind. Christmastime is a reminder that the Lord gave Himself to us in Baby Jesus, and brought to us a Light that no darkness can overcome. The Star of Bethlehem illuminated not only the night sky, but also the depths of man’s heart and soul, heralding the Birth of our Savior Who came to show us a new way of love, humility, obedience, patience, faith, peace, and goodwill. This message is embodied beautifully in the Holy Birth; boundless love as demonstrated by God giving His one and only Son, humility exemplified in the King of Kings coming into this world as a baby in a modest manger, obedience and patience personified by Joseph and Mary, faith represented by the shepherds who were rewarded with the privilege of being the first to receive the good tidings, peace and goodwill among all as proclaimed by the angel and the multitude of heavenly host trumpeting glory and praise to God.
“Glory to God in the Highest” indeed, for the Anointed One Who came not to judge but to save, to liberate sinners, free the slaves, heal the sick, lift up the poor, comfort the bereaved, elevate the fallen, act on behalf of the powerless, and restore justice to a unjust world, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given…and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice” (Isaiah 9:6-7). Just as in the time of Jesus, today too the world is filled with strife, unrest, and injustice. Malicious forces are attempting to assert their authority, causing untold suffering among innocent peoples. Injustice of any kind is an affront to God, for it is an attempt to dim the faith, hope, and love brought forth by the Light of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Armenian people are certainly no stranger to injustice, but despite the multiple invasions, confiscation of lands, death and destruction, we survived, with our faith, language, and culture intact. We died, but we did not perish, because we place our faith not in our own power, but in the supreme power of God. The year 2015 is a significant one for our nation as we will commemorate the centennial of the Armenian Genocide and seek justice for the wrongs committed against our people and nation. After all the time that has passed, it can be easy to feel disparaged. We cannot and will not lose heart however, for as faithful Christians we know to call upon the Lord, and He will deliver us. When it seems like we have reached a dead-end, God opens a door. The Birth of our Lord is the greatest manifestation of this truth, for when mankind was at its darkest, God sent His Son so that the world might be saved through Him, “For the Lord is a God of justice” (Isaiah 30:18).
Our forefathers called upon our Lord, Who granted the faith and strength to persevere and to rise again and again. With God on our side we succeeded in regaining our independence and securing the liberation of Artsakh, and with God on our side we will succeed in bringing peace to the souls of our martyrs through universal recognition and just reparation. The Lord has sustained and guided us as a people for centuries, and we can be certain that He will lead us at this crossroads too. We will continue to pursue our rightful demands with the conviction that the Sun of Justice will lead us to victory and righteousness, and we will fight injustice and oppression against all, in the example of our Lord Who came as an advocate for all peoples of all nations.
Christmas is a miraculous time; it truly is the most wonderful time of the year for young and old alike. During this time of year there is a certain peace and merriment in the air, and childlike wonder at the joy and festivities of the season. People are kinder to one another, the spirit of charity flourishes deep in our souls. This feeling of brotherly love, harmony, and goodwill should remain at the forefront of our lives throughout the year, for Jesus is born not only on Christmas, but in our hearts daily. We should be striving every day to carry on the work initiated by the Birth of our Lord, to spread His love and mercy among our fellow children of God, and to pursue justice and righteousness for the voiceless and defenseless especially. Jesus came as a model of holy living, He showed us the true way and what is required of us in this life, “to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him” (Micah 6:8).
As we celebrate His Holy Birth this Christmas, may He be born anew in our hearts and generate new life within us. May He pour His grace upon us and lead us to serve humbly and faithfully for His glory, for the splendor of the Armenian Apostolic Church, for the prosperity of our homeland, and for the fulfillment of our national cause. And may He guide the nations of the world in the way of His truth and justice, establishing among them peace which is the fruit of righteousness.
At the commencement of a New Year, we convey our best wishes to our clergy, councils, parishes, schools, committees, and faithful parishioners, praying for the blessings of health, happiness, and prosperity for all God’s children. May the love and peace of the Holy Infant take hold in people’s hearts and bring an end to human suffering and injustice in the year 2015 and beyond.
Christ is Born and Revealed
Blessed is the Revelation of Christ
Good tidings to all
Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian
Prelate, Western United States
New Year and Christmas 2015