Skip to comments.Christmas message from Heads of Churches in Jerusalem
Posted on 12/24/2013 5:33:06 AM PST by MarkBsnr
In Him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1. 4,5)
We, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, share with you the joy of this Christmas season of the Incarnation. Our physical closeness to the town of Bethlehem where this took place is a constant reminder to us of its wonderful reality. We praise God for the Word made flesh in the person of Jesus Christ from the pure blood of the Blessed Virgin Mary and for her willingness to co-operate with his divine plan. We praise God for the Shepherds in the fields below Bethlehem ordinary people of no rank or status who were chosen to be the first to hear the Good News of our Saviours birth. We praise God for the Angels with their message of glory to God and peace to men and women. We praise God for the Wise Men, kings from the East, through whom Gods Theophany was revealed to the nations.
It is sometimes easy to forget that the first Christmas took place in a context of considerable political instability. The occupying Roman Empire was a powerful reality and here in the Land of the Holy One there was a wide range of groups with competing claims and differing loyalties. The story of Herods retaliation against the children of Bethlehem reminds us that violence was common. The world into which Jesus came was not altogether different from the current situation here in the Middle East where we find ourselves today. Violence is seen as the only way to impose order and achieve security by some or as the only way to resist oppression and injustice by others. We firmly believe that violence is not the way and that the Jesus as the Prince of Peace came to show us not only how to be reconciled to God, but how to be reconciled to one another. Peace has to begin in the human heart as we recognize the common humanity which we share with every single person who has been created in Gods image.
In the first months of his life the child Jesus had to be taken by Mary and Joseph to Egypt as a refugee seeking a place of safety. This brings to our minds the many hundreds of thousands of people in this region who have felt compelled to make similar journeys as refugees, leaving behind their homes and all that is familiar to them in search of a more secure future. We invite you at this Christmas season to pray especially for them, for all the agencies of support which are sustaining them and for the leaders of our world as they seek to bring about a situation where the seeking of refuge will not be necessary.
In the midst of these sobering realities we rejoice that the light of Christ still shines even in the very darkest places. As the divine Word became flesh in the child of Bethlehem, so we pray that Gods word of love, joy and peace will continue to become flesh today as we open our hearts and lives to his divine presence among us.
From the heartland of the Christian faith we wish you a joyful Christmas in the name of the +Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
+Patriarch Theophilos III, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate +Patriarch Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarchate +Patriarch Norhan Manougian, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate +Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, ofm, Custos of the Holy Land +Archbishop Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem +Archbishop Swerios Malki Murad, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate +Archbishop Aba Daniel, Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate +Archbishop Joseph-Jules Zerey, Greek-Melkite-Catholic Patriarchate +Archbishop Mosa El-Hage, Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate +Bishop Suheil Dawani, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East +Bishop Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land +Bishop Pierre Malki, Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate +Mgr Joseph Antoine Kelekian, Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate
God Bless and Merry Christmas to our Christian brothers and sisters in the land of the Savior’s birth.
Merry Christmas ...
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.
20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:
23 Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, God with us.
24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife,
25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgins name was Mary.
28 And having come in, the angel said to her, Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!
29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.
30 Then the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.
32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.
34 Then Mary said to the angel, How can this be, since I do not know a man?
35 And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,;
5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
10 Then the angel said to them, Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!
15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.
16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.
18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, This was He of whom I said, He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.
16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.