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Christmas sermons

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  • Fr David Moser
    A Christmas sermon from Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco http://www.wadiocese.com/enews_comments.php?id=585_0_14_0_C Another Christmas sermon from Bishop
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 10, 2009
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      A Christmas sermon from Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco

      http://www.wadiocese.com/enews_comments.php?id=585_0_14_0_C

      Another Christmas sermon from Bishop George of Mayfield:

      Nativity Sermon

      Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

      In the Gospel of Matthew, immediately after the narration of the birth
      of child Jesus, we hear the account of the three Magi, the Wise Men who
      traveled from the East, probably Persia, in order to worship the
      Messiah. They had studied the ancient writings and knew of the prophecy
      of Balaam, that “there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre
      shall rise out of Israel” (Numb. 24:17). As we read in the canon during
      compline: “The riddles of Balaam, the soothsayer and diviner, are now
      fulfilled. For a star is risen out of Jacob and hath guided the Magi
      kings from Persia, bringing gifts unto the Sun of Glory.”

      By Divine Providence they were guided by a star, as it says in the
      Gospel: “Behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before
      them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they
      saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy” (Matt. 2: 9-10).
      Blessed Theophylact says that since they were astrologers, the Lord used
      what was familiar to them to draw them to Himself. Some people try to
      connect this star with some astrological event in history, ignoring the
      obvious fact that a star way up in the heavens could not possibly guide
      the Magi from Persia precisely to a small dwelling in the land of Judea.
      This star also shone in the daytime, and at night it was brighter than
      all the other stars, and it could not have pointed out where Christ was
      if it had not descended and stood over the head of the Child. According
      to St. John Chrysostom, this star was actually an angel who guided the
      three Magi to the Christ-Child. “And when they had come into the house,
      they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and
      worshipped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented
      gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Matt. 2:11). Because most
      of us have heard this story so many times, I think we have ceased to
      appreciate what an amazing thing this is, that three men would travel so
      far, to a foreign land, led by a star, in order to seek and find a
      new-born child whom they considered to be the incarnation of God, offer
      Him treasures, and worship Him. These men were not only wise men, but
      they were men of great faith. This is how St. John Chrysostom describes
      them: “Did they not know Herod reigned in Jerusalem, and did they not
      understand that whosoever, while a king is yet living, proclaims another
      king, or does honor to him, is punished in blood? But with their minds
      on their future King, they feared not this present one. They had not yet
      seen Christ, and already they were prepared to die for Him. O Blessed
      Magi! Who, before they had known Christ, confessed Him in the presence
      of a most cruel king.” They were not simply curious to learn if the
      prophecies concerning the Messiah were true, they believed they were
      true… “and when they saw the young Child… they fell down and worshipped
      Him.” They saw not a child lying in a beautiful bed, in a palace,
      surrounded by guards and servants, but a child, lying in a manger, in a
      humble dwelling, surrounded by His parents and livestock…and yet they
      recognized Him as the Messiah. And “they presented gifts to Him: gold,
      frankincense, and myrrh.” According to the canon read at compline on the
      Nativity, “gold is for the King of ages, frankincense is for the God of
      all, and myrrh is offered to the Immortal One, Who shall be three days
      dead.”

      In these days, when often people think more about giving and receiving
      gifts than they do about the actual feast of the Birth of our Saviour,
      let us consider the gifts that were given to our Saviour by the three
      Magi, and think about what gifts we can offer the Saviour. First of all,
      let us make an effort to come to the divine services regularly and
      actually worship Christ when we are here. It sometimes happens that
      having arrived in church, we spend our time looking around at everyone,
      talking, or thinking about worldly affairs, completely forgetting why we
      are here. How would we feel if someone came to our home and completely
      ignored us, as if we weren’t even present? Let us sincerely pray to God
      while we are here, remembering that we are in the House of God. What
      should we offer to God? According to the Holy Fathers, our gifts,
      corresponding to the gold, frankincense and myrrh, should be the
      Christian virtues of faith, hope, and love. Faith, because it is so
      precious, the treasure of all treasures; hope, because it is like the
      sweet fragrance of a Christian, ascending and uniting us with God, in
      Whom we place all our hope; and love, since it was because of God’s
      limitless love that He died for our sins.

      Unfortunately, many of us are lacking in these virtues and have little
      to offer. Our faith is often weak, our hope is unsteady and wavering,
      and we often lack love for our neighbor and for God. Let us at least
      offer God a humble heart, “for a heart that is broken and humble, God
      will not despise”. Let us ask God, Who is the source of all blessings,
      to give us what we are lacking, so that with the angels on high we may
      praise Him: Glory to God in the Highest!

      Christ is Born! Glorify Him! Amen.

      May God bless all of you on this Feast and throughout the New Year!
      +Bishop George of Mayfield

      --
      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org
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