January 2012 letter
Congratulating you on this New Year, asking God to make this year a blessed one for us all, as well as our brothers in Egypt, praying for Him to remove all the hardships and tribulations happening there, according to His true promise of blessing: “Blessed is Egypt My people” (Isaiah 19: 25).
And on the occasion of Christmas, we would like to remember that the birth of Christ and the events associated with it were according to God’s plan from of beginning of time, and He referred to it by many prophets of the Old Testament with the utmost precision and detail. Let’s look together into some of these prophecies and how they were fulfilled in the events of the birth of Jesus Christ:
v His birth from a virgin:
X Prophecy: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isa 7: 14).
X Fulfillment: revise the annunciation of the angel to St. Mary (Luk 1: 26-38).
v Born from the tribe of Judah:
X Prophecy: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people” (Gen 49: 10).
X Fulfillment: “For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood” (Heb 7: 14).
v The place of His birth:
X Prophecy: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting” (Mic 5: 2).
X Fulfillment: “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king …” (Mat 2: 1).
v The Slain Children of Bethlehem:
X Prophecy: “Thus says the Lord: A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more” (Jer 31: 15).
X Fulfillment: “Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts …” (Mat 2: 16).
Please remember the church, the priests, the servants and their services always in your prayers, and may the blessings of St. Mary the mother of God, and the blessing of the Nativity feast be with us always, Amen.
Fr. Youssef Halim & Fr. Luke Istafanous
Belleville, January 1, 2012