Антоний, митрополит Су́рожский

Sermons

Sermon 133 Sermon 134 Sermon 135

Christmas Eve

6 January 1988

I want to say a few words now both for you who are here and for the many who, during the night will listen to the broadcast of this service.

We are proclaiming tonight with deep inspiration and with sobriety the Incarnation of the Son of God. In a night like this one, centuries back, the Living God united Himself to our humanity. If we ask, how this could be, we can hear St Maximus the Confessor tell us that the Divinity united itself to the humanity in Christ as fire can pervade iron, filling it with heat, making it to glow, so that one can cut with fire and burn with iron. A union without confusion and a union which finds never an end.

And to this event, we praise the Mother of God, the Virgin who gave birth to the Son of God become the Son of man. From Her, the Virgin, He receives the fullness of humanity; from the descent of the Holy Spirit, this humanity is indwelled, pervaded, filled with the Divine essence itself: God becomes man. And in this we find a beautiful revelation of God, of man and of created world.

Of God, the Holy One of Israel, the unsearchable, the unutterable God in His holiness becomes one of us. And in becoming such He reveals to us Himself in humility, in the frailty of the new-born Babe, vulnerable and helpless like true love i s: given, abandoned, expecting all from those to whom it is given, the Babe of Bethlehem being both an icon, an image of Divine love and of what s h o u l d be human love.

And then also, in the Incarnation, we see the depth and the greatness of the human nature; if once God could unite Himself to man, it means that man is so vast, so deep, so great both in the eyes of God and in his nature, that he can be united inseparably to God without being destroyed, become as it were the Burning Bush who burnt with light and fire Divine and was never consumed.

And we discover also, because not only did the Son of God become the Son of man, but also the Word took flesh, we discover that in the very materiality of His humanity Christ was filled with the Divine presence. And that means that all things created, all the visible and invisible material world is capable of uniting itself with God. So that one day, according to the promise of Saint Paul, God shall be all in all, and the whole world, the whole Cosmos be the glorious vesture of the Living God, alive together with us with life Divine.

Let us therefore look anew at our attitude to God, adore and worship Him in awe and wonder but also with tenderness and gratitude; let us also look at one another and see in each other creatures of God whom He has s o loved as to give His Only Begotten Son for the salvation of each of us, so precious to Him and who should be so precious to us, so precious that we should love them with all our life and all our death if necessary. And when we look around at the created world, at the Cosmos that surrounds us, let us remember that it is also called to become the vesture of God, that God will pervade it also one day, and treat it accordingly, with veneration, with reverence, helping it and not trying to subdue it.

мая God give us vision, inspiration, daring, love to fulfill our human vocation on earth! Amen.


Sermon 133 Sermon 134 Sermon 135