Dearly Beloved, We hear some people ask, "Why Christmas? What do we get out of it? Does it make any sense? With all the senselessness of the misery and suffering that happens all around us, why do we care about celebrating the Birth of a Child in Bethlehem that took place so long ago to the tune of a couple thousand years? What relevancy does this have in our modern society?"
Usually these questions come from persons who do not have the requisite knowledge of REALITY and demonstrate an inability to see the works and agape of our Good God, the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit working One in Essence and Undivided as the Monarch of His Universal State. They are not aware that the Universal State is Eternal and is the Holy Orthodox Ecclesia of the Lord Jesus Christ bringing salvation to all who believe on the Son and Word of God Who created all (the Heavens and the Earth) with His Holy and Omnipotent Words.
But, we are called to illumine the way for all people to see in accordance with the Divine Light of the Supernal Light (Who is the Lord Jesus Christ). Most often, we see that those who ask the kind of questions posed in the first paragraph of this message are those who usually assign blame to our Omnipotent Lord (of All): blame for evils, blame for sufferings, blame for miseries, blame for "perceived" injustices.
Is our Omnipotent God guilty of all these allegations? Let us inquire...It is said that God created the Heavens and the Earth and all was very good. So, why is evil a part of the creation and why does a Good God allow it? The answer to this is that when the Angels were created, there arose a particular angel who was created with such perfection of beauty that the angel let his beauty permeate all his thoughts and he began to think of himself as perfect and more lofty than all the other Angels. This angel also began thinking that he could rule the Creation (of God) better than our Omnipotent God could so do Himself. Thus, the angel became a self-proclaimed enemy of our Omnipotent God. The angel, by his thoughts and actions, created evil, and became known as the Evil One. The angel convinced other angels to follow him in a plot to overthrow the Monarchy of the Holy Trinity and to seize control of God's Creation.
Enter scene two: God Created Man (Male and Female alike) in the Image and Likeness of God. The angel was enraged over this, because he felt jealous that God would make a creature designed to be higher than the Angels, including him. So, he set out to destroy Man and to turn Man into the likeness of evil. Thereby, he hid himself inside a serpent in the Garden of Eden and lured Eve and her husband Adam to talk about the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The fruit of this tree was forbidden to Adam and Eve (for their protection) because it would bring about their death. The existence of the Tree was a test for the obedience that God desired of Adam and Eve. Man was not exactly like God because Man was freshly created and had the mind of a child...being not yet fully developed. God warned Adam and Eve not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, saying that if they did, they would surely die.
The angel, hidden inside the serpent, suggested that they would not surely die if they ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The angel went on to say that by eating of the fruit, their eyes would be opened and they would become like God knowing good and evil. By suggesting this, the serpent planted the seeds of enmity between God and Man and convinced Man that the attribute of Likeness of God was not theirs (even though it was in truth their possession) but a commodity to be coveted and desired for immediate stolen possession. The serpent also suggested that God was keeping ALL these things from them, arbitrarily and capriciously; that God was abusing them and depriving them of things which were rightfully theirs if they ate of this fruit. Thereby, because of all these "attractive features" of the fruit, it looked to them in their child-like foolishness as "good to eat", and they ate the fruit and died.
Adam and Eve had eternal life with God in the Garden of Eden until they ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and died. For the protection of God's creation, Adam and Eve were placed outside the Garden of Eden and they were under the consequences of their choice to eat of the fruit which produced death in them and in the generations to come. Thus, began misery, suffering, ugliness, and the proliferation of evil by Man. Man no longer held the attribute of possessing the Likeness of God. It is sin which produces death, misery, suffering, and destruction. God is not the Author of evil. God is not the Author of suffering, misery, and destruction unless it is pursuant to Divine Justice. When suffering, misery, and destruction are experienced as a result of God's Divine Justice, that is not evil - it is good, very good. God will defend and preserve His Creation and His devoted servants. This is why we are called upon to give service to God and to our neighbour like as we, in turn, provide service to ourselves. We are called by God to do these things with all our mind, soul, spirit, and body.
As Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, they demonstrated their untrustworthiness, their disobedience, their coldness towards God. More so than that they demonstrated their unbelieving heart...They did not trust God...They did not trust God's commands...They did not trust that God is ALWAYS good. Then after eating the forbidden fruit, they realized that they had disobeyed God and surmised that He would be angry and destroy them! So, they hid themselves from Him, fearing Him with GREAT FEAR! When God "found out" about their having eaten of the fruit, Adam passed the blame for his evil deed to his wife, Eve. Eve, in turn, passed the blame for her evil deed and evil advice to the serpent. Now, let us ask ourselves, in all truth: Have we EVER passed the blame onto something or someone in an effort to deflect the anger of our parents when we did something evil and wrong? It comes so natural to us...it's coded into our genetic history from prior generations...leading all the way back to Adam and Eve. Yet, in all of this, God treated Adam and Eve with a complete sense of service to the duties of being a Husbandman to the Creation and especially to His Creation of Man...showing His Abundant Mercy and Compassion.
We have studied in science and philosophy classes the concept of cause and effect. That is, for every cause, there is an effect. This is true in every circumstance, whether the effect is visible or not. For example, if a pen is released from our hand, in mid-air, the pen will move from that position to the floor, unless the power of belief overrides that default behaviour. The Gospel tells us if we have suffient belief, we can command a large mountain to move from its current position to a different position and it will. That is REALITY! The delusion is that we imagine that we can't do such things. With all this power, potentially available to us (in REALITY), how is it that we cannot see clear to eradicate the evil conscience from our hearts and give service and complete TRUST to the Omnipotent God, the Lord Jesus Christ (Monarch of our State)?
All the while that the Eternal State, the absolute Monarchy of the Absolute Monarch the Lord Jesus Christ functions on the Earth, another temporal state is among us with an evil intention of destroying Man and in the style of Don Quixote seeks to tilt at windmills in a pathetic effort to defeat the Almighty Omnipotent God, the Lord Jesus Christ. The ruler of this temporal state is the Antichrist, (the son of Perdition). But with a Breath of the Omnipotent Word of God, and pfffff! the temporal state is gone! (no more). So do not despair, dearly beloved brothers and sisters, even knowing you must endure suffering, tribulation, misery, and evils, because the victory is with the Eternal State, the Holy Orthodox Ecclesia of the Lord Jesus Christ. Be found among the servants of the Monarch of all Monarchs, the Lord Jesus Christ! He is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE.
Dearly Beloved, if all of us DID NOT HAVE Christ, we should, by the working of Divine Justice, be condemned. "The wages of sin is death...but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord". (Romans 6:23) "And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this; Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping?" (Ezra 9:13,14) "But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it." (Proverbs 2:22) "Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. But the PATH OF THE JUST IS AS THE SHINING LIGHT, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as DARKNESS: they know not at what they stumble." (Proverbs 4:14,15)
"But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." (2 Peter 3:7) "The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is." (Revelation 17:8) "And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition." (Revelation 17:11)
"Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?" (Ezekiel 18:23) "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)
"But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die." (Ezekiel 18:24) "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:" (First Epistle of St. John 1:6) "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning." (Second Epistle of St. Peter 2:20)
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (First Epistle of St. John 1:9) This is why we need the continuous nurture of the Holy Spirit of God through His Holy Grace-filled Mysterions available only through the One, Holy, Universal, and Apostolic Ecclesia of Jesus Christ functioning in unity and concord with One Gospel, One Baptism, and One Christ (which has remained undivided; knowing not reformation or counter-reformation).
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." (Revelation 2:7)
"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." (Gospel of John 3:18-21)
Perhaps you, the reader, can already answer this question! If not, the answer is PLAINLY NO, No, NO: THERE IS NO OTHER PATHWAY TO SALVATION THAN THROUGH CHRIST, the ONLY BEGOTTON SON AND WORD OF GOD. Can any other religion remove the ANCESTRAL SIN? NO, they cannot! The Ancestral Sin of Adam and Eve is all that is required to cause Divine Justice to commit you to the Eternal Lake of Fire called Gehenna. There is a BETTER WAY! "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians 2:1-10)
Do you choose death or life? The wide gate or the narrow gate? Now, it is time for you to choose (if you are not already a member of the ONE TRUE Holy Orthodox Ecclesia of the Lord Jesus Christ). You have heard the oration of this Christmas Message. Through the Monarch of Monarchs the Lord Jesus Christ, you have the opportunity to receive full forgiveness of all your past sins and of the Ancestral sin for which you are also responsible. When you become baptized, chrismated (receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit through the fervent prayers of your Orthodox Christian Parish Priest and your God Parents), and communicated into the Holy Body of Christ in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit by a canonical Orthodox Christian Priest, you will receive the Blessing of all Blessings: Guilt-free life in the Body of Christ as you grow to be more like Christ every day. Be an overcomer. Go study the Catechism of the Holy Orthodox Church and go see your nearest Canonically Ordained Orthodox Christian Priest without delay.
Have a Good Celebration of the Birth of Christ and Rejoice!
Grace and Peace be with you in Christ Jesus, now and forever, and from all Ages to all Ages. Amen.
Love in Christ,
Petros Presbeftes, Sysop
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