Christmas Messages from Church Leaders

voodoo-madonnaChristmas is with us once again. Church leaders remind us of that Jesus is the reason for the season, and not merry making and over-indulgence. It has been a year of challenges for churches – and indeed, for all faiths. Many religions – when Covid19 restrictions halted divine services – had to find new solutions to continue ministry and service to spiritual seekers. Here, we share two Christmas messages from Church leaders which bear witness not only to the Birth of Jesus, but also to the confrontations to the human situation we all face, together.


Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, ‘God with us’.” (Matthew 1: 23)

Indigenous mother and childThe Nativity of Christ in the flesh – Christmas is the new start towards Divinity after ignoring His command through sin. The Creator of the universe came to dwell among us. He came to be united with human race, to share our pain and struggles, in order to lift us up into a new reality.

Jesus Christ did not come as an angel or as a prophet who simply spoke the word of God. God become one of us, “and dwelt among us.” (John 1: 14). He incarnated, that He came to our world with a real birth from the Ever-Virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit in order to remain eternally with us and like us humans in every way except a sin. Jesus Christ became an integral and eternal part of our human family. His presence is not related to just His time, but His presence is eternal. He is truly with us and among us. And we believe in His words, when He says: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.” (Matthew 28: 20). And it is good to know that Christ is not with us only during our hours of prayer, peace and happiness, but even more so in our turbulent days of doubt and weakness, in our hours of fear and uncertainty. The awareness of our Lord Jesus Christ’s presence should strengthen and inspire us at all times, especially during these days of pandemic, during these days of instability and unrest. But always remember what the Angels told the Shepherds the day of the Nativity of Christ: “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, Who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2: 10-11)

The message of Christmas is this: in the midst of pain there is good news, in the midst of suffering there is joy and in the midst of disunity Jesus Christ has a message for all people. But nowadays Christmas for some is a time of family, friends and blessing. Yet for others, Christmas is tainted by the sadness of loss, financial hardship and disappointed dreams. This year we are approaching the Holy Season with an obvious heaviness in our hearts. Stay in the hope, approach Him with trust, and you will feel His presence and His peace shadowing our hearts and lives. And during these blessed days, we cannot forget our Frontline Workers who gave themselves, day and night, to keep us safe during this pandemic. We pray the our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Immanuel, to grant them and all of you His heavenly blessings, and to protect the whole world and our beautiful country Australia. And wishing you a Holy Nativity Feast and a New Year 2022, full of the grace of God, peace, seasonable weather and prosperity.

His Eminence Metropolitan Basilios, Archbishop
Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines


Diocese of the Armenian Church of Australia and New Zealand

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill among men

Once again, it’s the Christmas season, a time for renewal and a time for hope.

Holy family as refugees
Holy family as refugees
In the past year our faith and stamina were tested to the limit. The whole world order was shaken to its foundation. In the four corners of the world there were many earthquakes, fires, floods, wars, and famines. On top of all these we had to cope with Covid-19; there were tens of millions who suffered agony and pain, more than five million perished; because of isolation people still face psychological distress and economic hardship. It will take a while until the world might return to its usual way of life. One wonders if it will ever be the same.

As Christians we were barred from communal worship. Baptisms, weddings, requiem services were postponed throughout the year. It was not possible even to give communion to our believers.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Cor. 4:8-9).

As Christians we cannot give up hope, we do not accept defeat, we fight the evil whatever form it takes because we do not trust on ourselves, but in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Those of us, clergy and laity, who are entrusted with the church, we did our best to reach out to our faithful, people who had technological skills extended their help. New situations require new solutions. We shared the Divine Liturgy and the Sermon by live streaming and our Bible studies and talks on Zoom. We encouraged our faithful to be steadfast in their faith through personal conversations on the phone. We tried to communicate to everyone that even in our seclusion we were not alone, as a community of believers we are together as one family having Jesus, the true shepherd as our eternal leader.

May the light emanating from the manger in Bethlehem through the new-born Jesus renew our faith, fill us with hope and His eternal peace and love dwell in our hearts making us true children of light.

With Blessings,
Archbishop Haigazoun Najarian, Primate
Diocese of the Armenian Church of Australia and New Zealand

 

Sunshine Mother And Child
Sunshine Mother And Child is a painting by Shijun Munns – https://fineartamerica.com/featured/sunshine-mother-and-child-shijun-munns.html

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