St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

January 2004

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Fr. Antony PortraitChrist is Born! Glorify Him!

His love for me brought low His greatness...

There is no more wondrous message in all the world's religions than that which comes at Christmas. The love of God could no bind itself merely to expression through nature or through laws and holy books. His love took the final step of touching humanity in Person. All other revelations are inadequate. Only the Incarnation of God could fulfill the deepest needs and longings of creation and express the unfathomable depths of the love of God.

Can true love bear to stand at a distance from the object of love? Can true love really express itself fully through a mediator? The medium is the message! The birth of God in the flesh is the ultimate truth, the ultimate reality, the end, as St. John of Damascus and Fr. Schmemann wrote, of all religion.

We praise and worship the God who risked all in order to save us. He "emptied Himself and took on the form of a servant." He "tabernacled among us," sharing our nature, our weakness, our joys and sorrows. He made fro Himself a body in the womb of His Virgin Mother because only in this way could He sanctify all of human life and death for "what has not been assumed has not been sanctified" (St. Irenaeus). The bottom line is love.

God so loved the world that He gave His Only-Begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (St. John 3:16)

This is why Christmas is such a joyous season. Even those who do not believe can sense it. This is the Season of hope, of joy, of light, of celebration because the glorious birth of God has effected all creation. Share it with one another! Share it with the world! Do not hide the light under a bushel! Put in on a lampstand for all to see. Let your light shine before men!

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Antony Hughes