Primate’s Message on the Feast Of The Nativity

Primate of the Western U.S. Diocese Archbishop Hovnan Derderian

“For in Him we live and move and have our being…” (Acts 17:28).

The Miraculous Birth of Christ – THEOPHANY – is the ultimate Truth in the life of humanity. Prior to Christ’s Miraculous Birth, humanity was incapable of elevating itself to the level of comprehension that we have been created in the image of God and bear within ourselves the divine love and wisdom of God.

The Birth of Christ is the mystery of God Incarnate who humbled Himself and descended to Earth in order that we may ascend to the abode of the Almighty. It was the resolute faith of the apostles, which led them to embrace the true teachings of Christ and to preach the Word of God as it had been entrusted to them. “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.” This exact message was preached by St. Paul, the Apostle. St. Paul’s ministry was summarized in the following phrase:

“For in Him we live and move and have our being…” (Acts 17:28).

The Birth of Christ is the mirror of our existence. It is through His Birth upon which our life’s journey is conditioned. Furthermore, as we follow in His footsteps we see the reflection of our lives and the harbor of peace. The Miraculous Birth of Christ obliges us to live and act humbly, to lead prayerful lives, to transform our lives into a living Gospel, to become the radiating light and the divine inspiration in each others’ lives.

The Birth of Jesus calls upon each of us without exception to celebrate the commencement of a new life with childlike innocence and purity. Christ’s Miraculous Birth exhorts us to embrace the Babe of the Holy City of Bethlehem if we wish to emulate and walk in the footsteps of God.

The great philosopher Pascal summarizes this Truth with the following words:
“C’est le Cœur qui sent Dieu, et nor la raison. Voila` ce que c’est qui la foi: Dieu sensible cœur, non a la raison.” “It is the heart which experiences God, and not the reason. This, then, is faith: God felt by the heart, not by the reason.”

At the dawn of the New Year, the Birth of Christ spreads the longing for a new life, the abundance of faith and hope. The emergence of the coronavirus brought the world to a standstill. The pandemic claimed the lives of nearly two million people, causing a massive global social and an economic crisis. And amidst the chaos, our nation and Motherland faced devastating losses of life, the surrender of ancestral lands and the martyrdom of thousands of young soldiers. These tragedies however must be overcome by our unwavering Christian faith, our resolute belief in hope and love offered to us by Christ, our Lord in order that we may avoid frailty, gain the strength to reject all temptations and take comfort in a new life whose source is derived from Christ Jesus and the manger in Bethlehem.

God is the centrality of our Christian Faith, in Whom the purpose of our life’s mission is originated. In other words, a faithful who relies on God embraces the divine calling and finds spiritual joy in serving humanity. Enrooted in our Christian Faith is the yearning for perfection, as commanded to us by the Almighty God. Therefore, our ancestral Christian Faith enlivens in our hearts the recognition and adherence to God’s commandments.

The philosopher Emmanuel Kant summarizes it as such:
“La religion est la connaissance de tous nos devoir comme commandements divins.”
“Religion is the recognition of all our duties as divine commandments.”

Christ is Born and Revealed,
Blessed is the Revelation of Christ.

Beloved, let us greet one another with the divine greeting of Christ’s Miraculous Birth. Let us be cognizant of the Truth that Christ was born in order that we may never frail in our vision of spiritual rebirth. Each one of us, despite our weaknesses, possesses divine strength and wisdom, in order to overcome temptations, trials, and tribulations and to strive to lead a God-pleasing life. Therefore, let us celebrate Christ’s Miraculous Birth by filling our lives in the New Year with noble deeds, let us renew our faith and commitment to service in our calling as Christians, cherish our families and loved ones with Christ’s divine love. Let us wholeheartedly support our Motherland that has gifted us the spiritual jewel of Holy Etchmiadzin, where the descent of God’s Only Begotten Son has been affirmed.

The Birth of Christ is an invitation to a life of humility. May the radiating light from the Babe of Bethlehem illuminate each of our lives. Life is blessed and beautiful when one emulates the life of Christ, our Lord. A Christ-like life embodies love and wisdom and especially, a peaceful spirit.

Christ is Born and Revealed,
Blessed is the Revelation of Christ.

Archbishop Hovnan Derderian
Primate of the Western Diocese
of the Armenian Church of North America

Feast of the Nativity 2021

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