January 2020 Letter
We send you our congratulations for the new Gregorian year 2020, asking the Lord to make it a happy year for everyone. On the occasion of Christmas the writings of the late Pope Shenouda III on the Nativity entitled: “Why did God Come to Dwell Among Us?” are very inspiring:
“As we celebrate the birth of Christ from the Virgin, we may ask among ourselves: what are the reasons that led our Lord to take flesh and to dwell among us, to become in the form of a human being, and to be born of a woman like all men? There is no doubt that redemption is the primary cause of His incarnation.
The Lord came to the world to save sinners, to redeem them, to die and to give Himself up for many. This is the main reason, that by itself would be a sufficient reason to justify His incarnation. Christ came to fulfill Divine justice, and to reconcile heaven and earth.
We can also say, in addition to redemption and reconciliation, that Christ has come on behalf of humanity, not only in His death on its behalf, but also to fulfill all that is required of her to do. If a person fails in his relationship with God, so the ‘Son of Man’ came to act on behalf of all men in pleasing God.
During the time of His on earth, the Lord presented to mankind the ideal image of how a person should be, in the image and likeness of God. He gave the image and practical example, so that St. Athanasius the Apostolic said that: when this image according to which God created man was corrupted, God came down to present to them the original Divine Image.
And when people mistook the interpretation of divine law and presented it to people according to their misconception, and mixed with their own teachings and traditions, the Lord came to present to mankind the divine law as the Lord wanted it, pure of human errors in understanding and interpretation.
For all this, the whole world rejoiced for the coming of the Lord. The angel announced the good news to the shepherds, saying: “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people” (Luke 2: 10), meaning that the joy was not only for the shepherds but for all the people, not only for the Jews but the whole world.
Indeed, it is a great joy, which we saw clearly on the face of Simon the elder who carried baby Jesus on his arms, and glorified God saying: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation. Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples” (Luke 2: 29-31) … It is the joy for salvation that has been awaited for a long time.
And we saw this joy on the face of Anna the righteous prophetess and worshiper, who “gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (Luke 2: 38).
This joy appeared also on Elizabeth’s face when the Virgin visited her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and said to the Virgin: “But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy” (Luke 1: 43-44). Even the babe rejoiced, because he was a prophet and knew Christ who is coming”.
May the blessings of Emmanuel be with us all, to always dwell among us and in our hearts.
Belleville, January 1, 2020