Holy Nativity of our Lord
As we prepare for the Holy Nativity of Our Lord, I would like to share these God-inspired words of our Holy Father Nectarios of Pentapolis. This passage is taken from his Christology.
"For God so loved the world the He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
Oh, what gladsome tidings! What fortune! Man's burning desire has been fulfilled, eternal life has been granted to him, the truth has appeared, and the light of knowledge has illuminated his noetic eyes. Already possessing a secure and certain hope of eternal life, man is able to await unburdened the completion of his toilsome life. Already with a peaceful spirit and a tranquil heart, he can view life's changes and philosophize about the things of the world. He can confront life's uphill and adverse changes full of spiritual tranquility; he can endure all of life's trials courageously and bravely. Already knowing the only true God, Whose name was revealed to people by the Son of God, Who came down from heaven - the expectation of the nations and Israel, the Savior of the world - man, with his mind illuminated by the triune divine light, can view God's glory, ascend toward Him, approach His throne of glory, speak with Him, and be united with the eternal life through unbreakable divine bonds. Man already knows - because he has been assured - that he was created for eternity, and that at the completion of his earthly life, the stage of contest, immortality is being guarded for him. He already knows that through Jesus Christ he has become a friend of God and has been honored with sonship: "But as many as received Him, to them He gave power to become the sons of God, even to those who believe in His name" (John 1:12). O, what a wondrous change! How greatly has man's situation been altered! Behold, everything is already new! A new heaven and a new earth! Faith, hope, love, these three heavenly virtues came and drove away doubt, despair, and hatred from the hearts of people. Worship in spirit and truth has been realized. It has replaced the bloody sacrifices and worship of the law - as well as the rest of the holy rites [of the Old Testament] - and has put an end to the lie and deception. Man now believes in God the Savior,
he knows the truth, and he is enlightened by the immense light of truth.
What wondrous knowledge! How beneficial! How much does it change man! Wherever it settles ignorance is banished; conversely, rational contemplation reigns everywhere. This knowledge fulfills all the heart's desires and renders man fortunate and blessed. It casts away mourning and introduces delight instead. It disperses the darkness and fills the faithful with boundless light. The knowledge of the true God through our Savior Jesus Christ is the gate that leads to eternal life. The revealed truth through Jesus Christ is the gate that leads to immortality. The revealed truth through Jesus Christ is the Divine Light that enlightens all who accept it. The Savior Himself attests to this, saying: "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12); "I have come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth in Me should not abide in darkness (John 12:46). Therefore, he who believes in the Son of God has the light of life and knows where he is headed. This person has come to know the only true God, because the Savior Himself has revealed this to him. Therefore, the darkness has been dispersed because man has come to know and love Him. They who believe in Christ, therefore, have knowledge and love, and the light of life has radiated them. Therefore, the lot of them who believe in Christ is eternal life. Hence, salvation is attained through knowledge; within knowledge there is the light; within the knowledge of Christ the Savior there is the knowledge of the true God. The knowledge of Christ is the light, the way, the truth, and the life. The Lord Himself preached this truth saying: "I am the light of the world. He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life " (John 8:12). Therefore, by knowing Jesus Christ, we walk in the light, and we have the light of life. Consequently, the knowledge of the Son of God is a necessary prerequisite in order to have the knowledge of God, in order for our mind to be enlightened and radiated through faith in Him, and in order for us to see the light of truth and received the spirit of grace that enlightens and sanctifies all who believe in the Son of God.
- St. Nectarios - Christology, Part II, Chapter 2