Bishop Basil (Nesterenko)

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Dear brothers and sisters, it is true that our souls are filling up with love, happiness, because the Christ is born. And He is bearing in every person, every time and every year. And we are growing spiritually with His blessing.

Today our Church mentions the events that happened more than two thousand years ago. Two events that are completely opposite in its meaning – the birth of Jesus Christ, Our Savior, and so tragic event that happened long ago - the killing of babies. 14 thousand babies were killed at those terrible days.

Let’s refer to the Gospel (Mtw., ІІ:1-23), where it is told that the wise men came to Herod the king, they told him about the birth of king of the Jews. And Herod used his slyness. He asked them to go and find that Baby in order that he could go and worship Him too. Also Herod called for the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea”.

When the wise men went away Herod had been waiting that they would come and tell him the place where the Baby was born. He acted with slyness to have the chance to kill God’s Baby, but not to worship it. But the wise men followed the star and were ruled by God’s Providence, so they did not do this disgraceful thing and departed to their own country by another way.

Herod had to understand that the prophecy and the star meant that it was God’s Providence and the king of Jews from God had to appear. Bur Herod showed his cruelty concerning babies. He showed cruelty concerning God. He started to fight with God. He was looking for the way to kill this Baby. And after he failed the first chance he sent his soldiers that they find and kill all little kids who were two years old or under in Bethlehem and in that entire region. And we see what a terrible thing happened. There were killed more than 14 thousand babies. It was a huge tragedy. Mothers were crying, as the prophet warned: “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.” It was really a very huge and awful event.

We can see that with Jesus Christ’s coming the intensive fight was started between good and evil, light and darkness. We see that Roman Empire tried to kill all Christians, it drowned them in blood. How many just people were killed?! Read the Gospel and the sacred writings and you will understand what brutalities were done with Christians. But they could not overcome Our Lord, because He is all-powerful.

And in our time there was a huge fight with God in the time of Soviet regime and we, our parents and our grandparents still remember about it. How many priests did they kill? How many Christians? And what do we see? They were drowned in their own blood, because they were stupid. It is hopeless thing to fight with God. But they do not believe in God, so they continue to struggle.

The evil forces do not sleep even now. They are fighting now, but not as openly as it was before. They do not kill Christians physically, but they do it spiritually and morally. We can see that the falling of society goes through the lack of faith in God. It is a drug addiction, a habitual drunkenness, a game addiction and other human weakness, that turn people from God. And even a lot of priests become the victims of evil forces. Some people ask questions: “Why do some priests, who give their lives to God, do not stand against such trials?” Maybe, their sinfulness is not smaller than other people have. But we know that more holiness means more temptations. When we read about the lives of holy people, we get to know about those huge temptations, which they had. That is why our church also had already gone through it. You know that not everyone can stand against temptations. So, let’s do not blame that people.

God waits for everyone to come to Him. He waits for the salvation of every man. It means that God gives the chance to rise, when the person has a fall, if he appeals to Him with his sincere confession. It means that if a person makes a sin, he is still under God’s protection. But the person must understand the sin, confess open-heartedly and then God leads him ahead through life.

The human soul and the human heart are the battle field of evil and good. When the good gains a victory in the heart of man the love and calmness appear there. And a person lives with it he disroots the anger, hatred and bad weakness. It is a great holiness. And then the nature of this person is to make good things, because he can’t live in the other way anymore. Such person has in its thoughts only good and no thoughts about judgment or sin.

That is why God gives us a chance to go to this holiness, to overcome in our soul all evil, all hatred, everything what it could be obsessed with. And due to this Jesus Christ, Our Savior came on the Earth. He came to ruin the nature of evil in the man, in its heart, to exterminate all evil.

A lot of people thought that Christ would come and bring some blessing, material prosperity, release from enemies and it would be paradise life. But they did not understand that Heavenly Kingdom and God’s Paradise the person can build only in its own heart. God said so: “Heavenly Kingdom is in you.” We must understand and comprehend that. Because someone thinks: “Well, God’s Kingdom… God’s Kingdom What it is? When and how could we build it on this sinful Earth?” Yes, it is not easy, it is even very difficult, but we must understand – to build the Heavenly Kingdom on the Earth first we must build it in our soul.

Can you imagine that every man will kill all evil in its heart? And everyone has something bad. There are no holy people without at least one sin. Everyone has sins, but one man less and another more. But you imagine that all people will kill all sins and the love and peace settle in every soul. It will be a real God’s Kingdom on the Earth. This is the real God’s Kingdom here on the Earth. Just imagine: no evil, all people love each other, love God, worship Him, live with God. Even when you imagine you feel blessing.

We know that the man’s soul is filled with happiness and gladness when he gets free of sinfulness. All of you have already touched that Kingdom, but maybe not everyone understood that. When you do some good deeds to people you feel very good. It is only the drop of this Heavenly Kingdom that we feel in the soul. And it is really the Heavenly Kingdom.

That is why God does not leave us, He always waits for us, waits that we work and go to His Holiness.

Let the Lord be always with us and does not leave us.

Let His Heavenly Kingdom be here on the Earth.  

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!