Metropolitan Methodios' Christmas Message
During Christmas, we will again hear a message which remains ever new. It is a proclamation brought by an angelic emissary instructing humanity---"those who lived in a land of deep darkness," (Isaiah 9:2) not to fear, for "a great joy has come to all the people" (Luke 2:10). It is a message of salvation first brought on a "silent night, a holy night when all was calm and all was bright" that the Incarnate Savior, Christ the Lord "was born in the city of David" (Luke 2:11). Back then, the Angel of Christmas evangelized the shepherds. This Christmas, the Angel repeats the joyous news to all humanity throughout the world: "Fear not for I bring to you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people."
Some of us wonder if this message is relevant in today's world. Indeed some question whether humanity needs a Savior. Is Christianity relevant to the men and women of our time? Is a Savior needed by a humanity which has reached the galaxies and is preparing to conquer the universe? Is a Savior necessary for a humanity which knows no limits in its pursuit of nature's secrets, one which has even succeeded in deciphering the codes of the human genome? Is a Savior required by men and women who have invented interactive communication, who navigate the internet and, thanks to the most advanced modern communication technologies, have made the Earth a global village? Does humanity that is convinced it is the self-sufficient master of its own destiny---a humanity which is the avid proponent of its uncontested triumphs---in need of a Savior?
Many would say no. Yet, in this age of plenty, people continue to die of hunger and thirst, of disease and of poverty. Countless worldwide continue to be enslaved, shamelessly exploited and stripped of their dignity. Many are victims of bigotry and hatred, of racial intolerance and gender discrimination. Tragically there are parents in Africa and the Middle East---even in America---who see their children maimed by narcotics, by weaponry, by terrorism, and by all sorts of violence. All this at a time when many invoke tolerance and acclaim progress and solidarity, peace and prosperity for all. And what of the millions who, bereft of hope, are forced to leave their homes and migrate to other countries seeking humane living conditions only to find even more misery in far away inhospitable lands?
Yes, a Savior is needed by all of us, including those of us who are misled by bogus prophets of happiness, and those of us who struggle with relationships, incapable of accepting responsibility for our personal behavior. A Savior is needed by those of us who succeeded in making the world a global village yet are unable to live at peace with our neighbor. A Savior is needed for those of us whose wealth has brought us fame and friends, attention and worldly comforts, but has left us nothing more than spiritually bankrupt, pitiful individuals. A Savior is needed by those of us who are trapped in the tunnel of loneliness and the desert of despair who often end up in the dungeons of despair and dependency, enslaved to alcohol and drugs and, worse, our over-inflated egos. A Savior is needed most especially for those of us who have lost all hope, defeated by depression and desperation to the point where we contemplate terminating our lives convinced we would be better off. How can we not hear humanity's agony, its anguish, its heart-rending cry for help?
This Christmas "the true light that enlightens every man" (John 1:9), comes into the world. "The word became flesh and dwelt among us" proclaims Saint John the Evangelist. This Christmas, Christ comes once again "unto his own". Those of us who receive Him will inherit the power to become children of God. He offers us the opportunity to see God's glory, and to share in the joy of love which became Incarnate in Bethlehem. This Christmas, our Savior will be born in the world for He knows that we need Him. Despite humanity's many advances, modern man needs to be saved. In this post-modern age, we need our Savior all the more because the society in which we live has become more complex, and the threats to our personal and moral integrity have become more insidious. Who can save us, other than the One who loves us to the point of offering His life upon a Cross?
Yes, the world needs a Savior, and it is our responsibility to share that truth and Him Who is the Truth with brethren throughout the world. It is our responsibility as members of the Church to transfigure the world from a faceless, cruel society of anonymous and selfish individuals into the Body of Christ---a community of brothers and sisters in communion with one another and with the Infant Savior in the household of God. May it be God's will!
May the Incarnate Lord choose our hearts as his Manger this Christmas. May we feel His presence every day of the New Year 2010.