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TO ALL CLERGY, PEOPLE OF GOD IN THE ORTHODOX CATHOLIC CHURCH AND FRIENDS OF THE CHURCH:

I greet you in the light and love of this holy feast of Christmas.

For most people, gift giving is an important part of the Christmas season, even as it was at the birth of the historical Christ.  Mary offered the world the precious gift  of her Son.  All who came to honor Him brought the special gift of their presence along with the trinkets of the poor and the royal offerings of the rich and kingly.  Gift giving is the human outpouring of respect, love and friendship.

When we rise each morning, we awaken to a God whose arms are filled with gifts for the day.  As we express our gratitude for them in advance, we tacitly thank this wondrous Being for whatever these presents may hold.  What an act of pure faith!  We don’t know what’s in those beautifully wrapped packages, but of one thing we can be certain, each one contains a gift that is designed to make us more united with our loving God than we have ever been.  Every single gift will be filled with light and will help us reveal the Christ within more clearly to one another.  We may not always accept these gifts with a happy heart, but this is the great choice that is ours to make.  Will these gifts be a light to our journey or will we return them to God with an emphatic “No thanks?” 

Most of us are so taken up with the activities of the day that we have only relative comprehension of the precious gift that God is offering us each and every day of our lives which is a deep understanding that we are spirit beings who live the human life only to nurture our spirit life.  Such a truth immediately sets our priorities---God first and earthly things second.   It is an invitation to know deeply that we are light and love and that our main task is to reveal the Christ to everyone as we go about our mundane tasks and interact with our sisters and brothers.

Light and love are two sides of the same coin with which God gifted us that wonderful day when the Son of the Most High came to earth for the specific purpose of showing us a brilliant way of love.  As we extend ourselves to others, we give them the present of the Presence—Pure Light, Pure Love—Christ Himself.  Is this not Christmas every day?  Literally, in doing this, we switch from the memory of the historical Christ’s birth to its living, ongoing experience in our daily lives.  Jesus draws us to Himself and assures us that we are one and inseparable.  Then He surrounds us with incomparable miracles, gifts right out of heaven and invites us to make love-filled choices.

As we celebrate this joyous time of gift giving, we acknowledge the greatest gift of all, the Son of God, born to us this day.  Let us allow this Child to become newborn in our consciousness each morning upon rising.  Let us hold this Child in our hearts, nurturing Him all day with positive thoughts, loving affirmations and pledges of our faithfulness and eternal love.  As we look deeply into this Child’s gentle eyes, those oceans of love, let us remember the Christ that we are. How can we not live life with a song in our hearts, when we think of what our life is meant to be--the very life of Christ upon this earth.

My greatest wish for you in 2007 is that you will realize these beautiful truths in your hearts as you share the grandest vision you have of yourself. Look into the mirror each morning and say to yourself: “I am the extension of the Christ to every sister and brother who lives upon this earth.”  Then, walk tall and with great courage into the New Year.

May you have a blessed and joyous Christmas feast and a New Year abundant with blessings and spiritual awakenings.

Lovingly in Christ,

Most Rev. Marilyn L. Sieg
Presiding Bishop
The Orthodox Catholic Church

 
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