Knowing where we came from is important in many ways, especially in preparing for where we are going. I’m not talking just about the our physical birth and ancestry, but also our faith and family’s spiritual heritage. Today we hear the Gospel from Matthew 1, which begins with “The book of the Genealogy of Jesus Christ.” It comes to us from the Bible, which means “book.” It’s not just any book, but THE book, the most important book which tells of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’s birth. This is the moment the Jewish people had prepared and anticipated for hundreds of years, when God would come and save the world forever. Now, the value of this genealogy isn’t in its legal or historical accuracy, but rather in the spiritual meaning emphasizing Christ’s humanity and fulfillment of God’s plan for our salvation.
The Christian way of life and the Church are based on the person, teaching & saving work of Jesus Christ, not on any one book. What is the heart of our Christian life?
We are reminded, especially at this time of year, to look toward Christ Who is the heart of our Christian life. To know Christ through His divine power, love, forgiveness and wisdom brings us closer to the mystery of the living God.
What is important and what the Bible proclaims is that the cosmos shows a Creator, One Who revealed Himself through Abraham, Moses, the Prophets and supremely through Christ. Even more important is to affirm the Bible’s faith that God is behind the mystery of life and that we should gratefully value life as a precious gift from Him. The living God and the miracle of life are bigger than the Bible! And the Bible’s main concern is to tell us about God, what He has done for our salvation and how to live in nearness to Him as our first priority in life.
As Orthodox Christians, we also rely on a broad and rich consensus of Church teachings about God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Church, salvation, prayer, free will and personal responsibility. These particular aspects of truth have been revealed to us by the Holy Spirit through our Church Fathers and Saints over time and help us to further commit to live our lives in union with Christ. The Orthodox Church brings together Scripture, tradition and the present life of the Church in order to draw closer to Christ and His kingdom. I pray this Nativity season brings you and your families great joy and especially a renewal in your walk of faith!