Kindness was born on the day Jesus was delivered
So were chivalry, guidance and modestyfigured
The universe was glorified with the Newborn
His light shining over all directions
The miracle of Christshone over the world,
as the dawn light breaks over the existence
The universeis filled with light,
and the earth is brilliant with it
The above verses were composed by the Prince of Poets Ahmed Shawqi about the birth of Lord Christ. Christians of the east begin celebrating the Nativity tonight, which memory is accompanied by meanings introduced and taught by Lord Christ, since His birth and through His life on earth.
Lord Christ was born in a world pervaded by violence and blood, among a people suffering the cruel Roman occupation, in light of intellectual disparity that provided nothing but more dispersal of human beings whimpering under the burden of life’s worries and struggles; He was a joy and a light for all the simple, the needy and the weak, as well as for the educated, the wise and the rich. In the story of “the Nativity”, the heaven announced it to various classes: to shepherds, to Magi. Rather, the scribes and Pharisees were not abandoned, despite they would persecute and resist, as well as a king who would seek to kill the Newborn!
The announcement of heaven came to the shepherds vigilant tending their flock brining joy to them, the Bible states: “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 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. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”. The shepherds represent the humble people in their life and the honest in their work, meanwhile, they had deep faith which made them worth to be preached with the Nativity.
Heaven also announced the birth of Lord Christ to the wise Magi of the East; an unusual star appeared to them, the Magirepresent the souls seeking to know God truthfully and honestly, so they would follow Him to the end of the world to offer Him prostration and honor! The star was a sign for them; they got extremely happy when they saw it and it led them to the Newborn in the manger.
The message of Nativity was also presented to those refusing people who had been pursuing their heart lusts: the chief priests, the scribes andKing Herod; that they may heed their darkness and repent, but they did not do so, the Bible states: “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ”
The message reached the ears of the chief priests and the scribes of the people, through the Magi, when they came to Jerusalemto see the Newborn King. The chief priests and scribes represent those souls who think themselves more righteous and better than others. They believe that they solely possess knowledge. However, they did not pay attention to the message of Nativity! Rather, they continued their journey in their own darkness, and got their eyes blindfolded from knowing the truth. As for Herod, he is the refuser of Nativity, who persists in his evils, the assassin of innocence by killing the children of Bethlehem, hoping to get rid of the Newborn King of the manger; he insisted on rejecting the light, he walked in the darkness.
Tonight, commemorating the glorious Nativity, we hope the Newborn of the manger would grant us joy and light, He said: “I am the Light of the world”. I felicitate you all for the Nativity, hoping all good, peace and blessings for the Egyptians and our beloved Egypt, and that God would protect the world from the epidemic. Merry Christmas to all of you. And… Stories in beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center
6 January 2021