Our Saviour, dearly-beloved, was born today: let us be glad. For there is no proper place for sadness, when we keep the birthday of the Life, which destroys the fear of mortality and brings to us the joy of promised eternity. No one is kept from sharing in this happiness. There is for all one common measure of joy, because as our Lord, the destroyer of sin and death, finds none free from the charge, so He comes to free us all. Let the saint exult in that he draws near to victory. Let the sinner be glad in that he is invited to being pardoned. Let the Gentile take courage in that he is called to life. For the Son of God in the fullness of time which the inscrutable depth of the Divine counsel has determined, has taken on Him the nature of man, thereby to reconcile it to its Author: in order that the inventor of death, the devil, might be conquered.
– St. Leo the Great, Sermon 21 on the Nativity of Christ
The universality of what is begun in Christ’s coming to our earth should give us all hope. He did not come only as the Messiah of the Jews, but also as the Christ Who invites all of us to life. He did not come only to give salvation and victory to the saint but also pardon and gladness to the sinner, transforming him into a saint.
The nature that the Son of God took upon Himself was the human nature, the one nature that we all share with each other and now, as God ordained, with Him as well. We therefore cannot do anything other than to look into one another’s eyes and see our common humanity, our brotherhood which we have had from our very creation. But even more than that, we look into one another’s eyes and see there the very image of God, the face of Jesus Christ according to Whom we were made from the beginning.
So let us love one another as He has loved us by His oneness with us. This is the spirit and the meaning of Christmas, that we set aside our selfishness and join as brothers and sisters in the warmth and love of our universal Savior Jesus. Christ is born! Glorify Him!
Yours in Christ,
Rt. Rev. Bishop THOMAS (Joseph)
Auxiliary Bishop, Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic