With joy and gladness, the entire world prepares to celebrate the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. During this period, intense preparations keep our days full and long. Bright lights and festive decorations flood the landscape. We are all so busy wrapping our gifts and preparing for the big celebration that is to come.
All of this is great and serves to satisfy our basic inner need to take a break from life’s daily struggles by sitting at the festive table with our loved ones. However, all of this does not automatically help us prepare spiritually for the remarkable and extraordinary event that the salvation of humankind represents.
Let us pause for a moment and consider this: we are all exchanging gifts these days. But to Christ, Who freely bestows on us our salvation, what gift do we offer Him?
One of the most beautiful and theological hymns during the festive period of the Nativity provides us with a telling answer. The hymn asks: What gift can we offer You, our Christ and God? You, Who came to earth as a man to unite us eternally to You? All Your Creation, participating in the Nativity of the King of Kings, offers You something. Your Angels praise You. The sky offers the star. The Magi rush to offer You gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The shepherds, in amazement and admiration, come to worship You. The earth offers You the cave, and the desert the manger. What do we, our Christ, offer You?
We offer the Virgin Mother for You to take human flesh. We offer You the Virgin Mother through who you are born. You come, our Savior, our Father, our Creator, to take human nature upon Yourself and to unite us with You. We renounced You in the person of the old Adam and lost that perfect union, that flawless communion with You. But You did not abandon us. You came into the world and took on human flesh. You became the new Adam. You took upon Yourself the sin of Adam, the denial, the arrogance of humankind, and You enabled us to share and partake of Your divinity.
Even our Virgin Mary, this most precious offering of humanity for our salvation, You gave it to us. You embrace us with Your infinite love. You Who are the eternal God, have mercy on us, Your children. Help us celebrate Your Nativity in peace, love and joy!
Message provided by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Department of Religious Education