St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

January 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

"The vast majority of human beings have always had very concrete and childlike minds, and there are levels at which even the most highly intelligent people are still like children. To get an abstract, universal, or spiritual truth into the understanding of a child one must make it concrete, and the best way to do so is to illustrate it with a story. Because God intends the gift of union and its realization for all men, and not merely for an esoteric elite, he therefore embodies the gift in a story, a mythos, which is acted out in real life - in Palestine under the governorship of Pontius Pilate. Universal realities are hard to perceive because of the vastness of their extent; to be brought to our attention they must be localized. The air is all around us, but we do not notice it until the wind blows."

 - Alan Watts, Behold the Spirit, p.78

God brought his omnipresence to our attention by becoming Man because humanity had lost its way, blinded by self-interest and the fear of death. The One in whom "we live and move and have our being" became "localized" and still remained as he was. The ocean of grace, the glue that holds all things together, the energy, the life, the breath of the cosmos, concentrated himself, like as Thomas Merton puts it, a magnifying glass concentrates the rays of the sun on a dry leaf. And he did it to make clear that he has always been here, the kingdom has always been in our midst, he has always been our Savior, he is and was and ever shall be the Alpha and the Omega, Jesus Christ the same "yesterday, today, and forever." He stole into the chamber of human nature and roused us from sleep and he did it as uncountable parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles have done from the beginning of history until now: by not telling, but also acting out a story -- the story of the birth of God in a cave in Bethlehem.

The truth is humanity has never been alone.

God is with us, always, and like the air we breathe continuously, we took it for granted so much that we forgot his presence, like Hafez' "thirsty fish." So, the God of love has come to us in a blast of wind, in a mighty wave, in a way we could see and touch and grasp with our limited understanding because that is how it must with us for we are always and ever children in need of a story.

Your servant in Christ,
+ Fr. Antony