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January 2019 English Newsletter | Santa Verena Charity

January 2019 English Newsletter Posted January 8, 2019 by admin

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My Beloved the benevolent                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

I am pleased to congratulate you all on the birth of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus. We rejoice in the birth of our God and Savior Jesus Christ because He showed us the mystery of God’s humility, His love for us, His striving for our salvation. St. Paul the Apostle says about the Son of God the Logos, “Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Phil. 2:6-8. It is God’s amazing love, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Jn. 3:16

When we come and worship before the Babe of Bethlehem, we worship with joy for our God Who emptied Himself and accepted to take our human nature, to come to our world and live among us who are set in darkness and the shadow of death… To redeem us and shine His light upon us. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jn.1:14. “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow death light has dawned.” Matt. 4:16

            The mystery of the Incarnation is the mystery of the humility of our amazing God. For as Satan tempted man to fall through pride, God saved us with His humility. And as Satan tempted man to fall through disobedience, Christ saved us with His obedience to the point of death; the death on the cross.

            Our joy in the birth of Christ is practically fulfilled in our lives when we live in humility. Thus, St. Paul commanded the Philippians and is commanding us today as well, saying, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” Phil. 2:5-7

            When we have the mind of Christ… “But we have the mind of Christ” 1Cor.2:16, we have one mind and we fulfill what St. Paul said, “Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests of others” Phil. 2:2-4

            We rejoice with the birth of Christ because He came to grant us a new life that St. Paul described, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Phil.1:21 and also said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Gal.2:20 It is a new life characterized by holiness. “As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.” 1Pet. 1:15

            A new life that we live, not for ourselves but for Christ,“and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him Who died for them and rose again.” 2 Cor.5:15  A new life that aims for glorifying God, “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Cor.6:20

A new life that frees us from men’s bondage, “You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men” 1 Cor.7:23

A new life that frees us from bondage of sin, “Jesus answered them, most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin…. Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” Jn. 8:34,36

A new life that we live on earth, but our goal is heaven, “For our Citizenship in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Phil.3:20

The birth of Christ gives us joy in our spiritual struggle. For the salvation that Christ has given us and the gates of paradise which He opened for us, helps us to live according to the Divine calling, “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ” Phil. 1:27 “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your won salvation with fear and trembling;” Phil.2:12 and offers Himself as an example, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:13-14 and assures us that we are not alone in our struggle, “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Phil. 2:13

Let us rejoice in our Christ, born of Bethlehem, Who emptied Himself for our salvation to grant us holiness, true freedom, and lead us in the parade of His victory.

May the Lord bless your offering in supporting St. Verena Charity Programs to have our needy and suffering brethren rejoice with us in the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Wishing you many happy returns,

Metropolitan Serapion