Orthodox Christmas hymn for a restful night
For our sister and brother Christians of the Orthodox Churches, I pray for you every blessing as you enter into the contemplation of the great mystery, the Incarnation of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
I pray for all today to experience wonder and joy on this Holy Feast Day of the Epiphany!
Epiphany, meaning “manifestation”, is also called the Theophany, the “appearing of God” in the Eastern Churches, and Dia de Reyes, Kings Day, in Latin American and Hispanic cultures.
On this day, the Western Church commemorates the arrival of the magi in Bethlehem to worship God, who has so wondrously become one of us in the the infant Jesus, God incarnate.
In his humanity, Jesus is a Jew, a rabbi, a descendant of David. In eternal faithfulfulness to the covenant made with the Jewish people, God promised to send them a savior, who will also be a light to all nations and peoples.
Born in the most humble of circumstances, in an animal pen, with a feeding trough for a crib, God shows us that there is no place so despised or situation so hopeless where his love will not make a home.
Adored first by shepherds, God shows us truly that the meek and lowly in heart are nearest to seeing the glory of the Lord. And with the arrival of the magi, God reveals to us that the gift of grace, the invitation to a life of transforming redemption in Jesus, is freely offered to all people, even those whom we might think of as being foreigners, outsiders, or unclean. In the magi, we see that the Gentiles, and that means me, are included in the promise of salvation.
So today, we rejoice in wonder and awe and give thanks for the revelation of the astonishing love and amazing grace given to the world by God, who became one of us in Jesus, who invites all nations and every people to love one another and to live in peace.
Glória in excélsis Deo et in terra pax homínibus bonæ voluntátis!
Very struck today by Five Helps for the New Year given one year by Bishop Michael Ramsey to his clergy
1. Thank God. Often and always. Thank him carefully and wonderingly for your continuing privileges and for every experience of his goodness. Thankfulness is a soil in which pride does not easily grow.
2. Take care about confession of your sins. As time passes the habit of being critical about people and things grows more than each of us realize. …[He then gently commends the practice of sacramental confession].
3. Be ready to accept humiliations. They can hurt terribly but they can help to keep you humble. [Whether trivial or big, accept them he says.] All these can be so many chances to be a little nearer to our Lord. There is nothing to fear, if you are near to the Lord and in his hands.
4. Do not worry about status. There is only one status that Our Lord bids us be concerned with, and that is our proximity to Him. “If a man serve me, let him follow me, and where I am there also shall my servant be”. (John 12:26) That is our status; to be near our Lord wherever He may ask us to go with him.
5. Use your sense of humour. Laugh at things, laugh at the absurdities of life, laugh at yourself.
Through the year people will thank God for you. And let the reason for their thankfulness be not just that you were a person whom they liked or loved but because you made God real to them.
Archbp. Michael Ramsey,
100th Archbishop of Canterbury