Prelate’s Christmas Message – 2007

THE BRIGHT STAR OF BETHLEHEM ONCE AGAIN ILLUMINATES OUR LIVES

Twenty-one centuries ago, shepherds that were herding heir sheep on a silent and holy night in a field near Bethlehem witnessed a miraculous sight; among the multitude of stars in the night sky, they saw an unusually bright star shining above a humble dwelling in a nearby village which proclaimed to them and to the world the good tidings of the angels’ songs:

“Glory to God in the Highest
And on earth Peace
Goodwill toward men…”

(Luke 2:14)

The prophets’ foretelling of God’s promise to save mankind was transpiring with the Glorious Birth and Epiphany of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  Indeed, God had become man to guide us in the path of righteousness.

By sending His only begotten Son, God sent mankind the tidings of peace, love, and goodwill, and the promise of a new beginning for a hopeful future.  He who is the image of the invisible God took the form of man so that man may recreate himself in the “likeness of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4, Colossians 1:15).

The circumstance of the Nativity in itself was evidence of the tiding of renewed life.  He was not born in a luxurious palace or in a royal family, but rather in a humble manger.  Similarly, the news and message of Birth of Jesus reached the humble and poor, and the good shepherds who immediately set out towards the manger to be the witnesses who would bear the good news of the miraculous Birth of our Savior.  In addition, the three wise men of the East, Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar, guided by the bright star, traveled to Bethlehem from afar to offer gifts to the infant Jesus who would be the Savior of mankind.  Through Jesus, the world would be renewed, and those condemned to sin, death, and darkness would receive salvation.  “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has a light shined” (Isaiah 9:2).

For twenty-one centuries, the bright star that shined above Bethlehem continues to illuminate the world, despite efforts to extinguish it.

Twenty-one centuries later, the “Great and Marvelous Mystery” of the Birth of our Savior continues to offer hope, inspiration, and meaning to our lives, minds, and spirits, and guides us towards goodness, love, righteousness, and peace.

Twenty centuries after Jesus’ mission on earth, countless attempts to obliterate the Sun of Righteousness have been made, however they have all been futile just like the first attempt by King Herod.

The earthly ministry of the “New King” was brief, however the heritage He left mankind is so rich and His teachings and doctrine so valuable that it has transformed our world and lives.  The star of Bethlehem became and continues to be the source of eternal life, the path of righteousness and truth, to renew the human race and to grant mankind a more fulfilling, just, and peaceful world.

The spirit of the message of Jesus has endured for centuries.  The messages of humility, love, peace, and goodwill toward man remain as relevant to us today as in the days of the magi who humbled themselves before the infant Jesus and offered Him gifts.

We, as Armenians, should be grateful not only because we were the first nation to officially accept Christianity but more so because our entire history and achievements have been the embodiment of our Christian faith, which is integrated in our national identity and character.

Dear Loved Ones,

Man is still called on by God today to follow faithfully in the path established by the Mystery of Epiphany.  Today, the timeless messages of love, tolerance, humility, and devotion resound in our individual and collective lives.

Straying from the path of God and deserting the mission of Christ and His Gospel leads only to misfortune.  Absence of love and devotion can lead to the destruction of families, friendships, and nations, while love and goodwill strengthen even the weakest foundation.

As faithful Christians, we are offered countless opportunities each day to give thanks and gratitude to God for all His blessings.  However, the New Year and the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ are exceptional opportunities for retrospection, for us to take a moment to re-examine and re-evaluate our lives and to rejuvenate our spirits so that we may live a God-pleasing life.

This is what the mystery of Jesus’ Birth proclaimed in the past.
This is what the Feast of the Birth of Jesus expects of mankind today and tomorrow.

On the joyous occasion of the New Year and the Glorious Birth and Epiphany of Christ, it is our prayer and wish that our Heavenly Father fill the hearts and lives of all with His blessings, keep mankind away from harm, and grant the Armenian nation and people well being and prosperity.  On this blessed Feast, I extend my filial love to our Pontiffs, H.H. Karekin I, Catholicos of all Armenians, and H.H. Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, wishing them health and many prosperous years.  For the leaders of our homeland and the Armenian people I wish Divine guidance and wisdom in their service to our nation.  Finally, I extend my blessings and wishes of health, peace, and prosperity to our clergy, Executive Council, parish Board of Trustees and delegates, educators, members of sister organizations, faithful parishioners, benefactors, and friends of our Prelacy.

Happy New Year
Christ is Born and Revealed
Blessed is the Revelation of Christ

Prayerfully,
Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian
Prelate, Western United States

New Year and Christmas 2007

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