Encyclical of Archbishop Demetrios for The Nativity of Christ 2017
Protocol No. 212/17
December 25, 2017
The Nativity of Christ
Light of Light, Brightness of the Father,
You have made the whole creation shine with joy!
(Hymn of Vespers of the Feast)
To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We glorify Christ on this blessed and glorious Feast for having come to us and for revealing the abundant and redeeming grace of God. We glorify Him for entering our humanity for our salvation. We glorify the miracle of His Incarnation and give thanks with great joy for this mighty act of God. We glorify God before all the world, because our Savior has come and the people who sat in darkness, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death, Light has dawned. (Matthew 4:16)
Today, the Son of God, as Radiance sent by the Father, has come and illuminated all of Creation. As in the darkness of night when the angels appeared to the shepherds, and the glory of the Lord shone all around them (Luke 2:9), Christ enters a world that has fallen into the darkness of sin and in need of the hope of light. Christ is born, and just as the shepherds we will go out glorifying and praising God for all that we have seen in the light of this holy Feast.
We glorify Him today, for as the Son of Brightness, as the Live-giving light, Christ illuminates the path to God. As the star led the wise men to Bethlehem so they could worship the newborn King, He reveals to us the way of regeneration and salvation. He is the light that guides us on our way to communion with God on our journey of faith. As He is the dawn of a new day of deliverance, we see that every valley has been lifted up, and every mountain and hill has been made low (Isaiah 40:4), and in His glory the way of the Lord has been revealed.
Christ is born, and we now see truth. He is the light of divine wisdom, and His radiance dispels the shadows of deception, fulfills the ancient prophecies, and reveals the divine plan for our redemption. All who witness His Holy Nativity glorify Him as being the ultimate light of truth and the sublime wisdom of God.
On this holy Feast we proclaim that our Lord and Savior has come. We join with the heavenly hosts in glorifying Him. As His glorious light shines in and through us, we witness to the world that Christ brings light in the darkness. His glory dispels fear and hopelessness. His radiance overcomes hatred and greed. The brilliance of His Incarnation reveals the truth of our life, existence and purpose, freeing us from sin and death. On this blessed day, may the light of Christ and His Holy Nativity shine in your hearts. May you know the assurance of His promises and the joy of His presence. As you cherish this blessed time with your brothers and sisters in the faith, and with family and friends, may His light shine through you so that others will glorify Him and see the way to truth and life eternal.
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America