Beloved in Christ,
Greetings in the name of our incarnate God and Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ!
Let us strive to comprehend the mystery. The reason God is in the flesh is to kill the death that lurks there. As diseases are cured by medicines and assimilated by the body, and as darkness in a house is dispelled by the coming of light, so death, which held sway over human nature, is done away with by the coming of God. And as ice formed on water covers its surface as long as night and darkness last but melts under the warmth of the sun, so death reigned until the coming of Christ; but when the grace of God our Saviour appeared and the Sun of Justice rose, death was swallowed up in victory, unable to bear the presence of true life. How great is God’s goodness, how deep his love for us!
– St. Basil the Great, Homily II on the Nativity of Christ
We rejoice in the coming of our God in the flesh precisely because He has come to do battle with death and to kill it. In these words of St. Basil, we see how great is the blessing and goodness of God to us, that He Himself would come and expel the darkness of our souls, cure the diseases that sicken our human nature, and set us on the path to resurrection. He Himself entered into humanity so that His power and love could conquer the corruption that had infected us.
This is why we celebrate Christmas. We are not only celebrating that God came to dwell among us. We are celebrating His coming because of what He came to do. He came to save us from death by destroying its power forever by uniting our humanity to His divinity. And so we will ever sing of His glory and His compassion for mankind.
Christ is born! Glorify Him!
Yours in Christ,
Rt. Rev. Bishop THOMAS (Joseph)
Auxiliary Bishop, Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic