“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” I would like to wish all of you a happy Nativity, which is to be celebrated after a few days by the Christians of the East, on the seventh of January according to the Gregorian calendar (the twenty-ninth of Kiahk, according to the Coptic calendar). That birth that the prophets prophesied in the past; Isaiah the Prophet mentions that this birth will be from a virgin: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” It is known that Saint Virgin Mary gave birth to Christ without human seed: that is, without a man. The prophets also prophesied the place of His birth that He would be born in the Jewish Bethlehem, so Prophet Micah said: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,Yet out of you shall come forth to MeThe One to be Ruler in Israel,Whose goings forth are from of old,From everlasting.”; This matter was known to the chief priests and scribes; when the Magi of the East came to Jerusalem, following the star, they asked: “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: …” Thus, heaven announced that wondrous birth to the shepherds, when the angel of the Lord appeared to them while they were on their night watch, and announced 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.” They hurried to see the Baby and take His blessing.
On the night of Nativity, we remember Christ’s message of peace that He bestowed on humanity through His birth: “and on earth peace”, it was mentioned about Him that He: “guide our feet into the path of peace”, one of the titles of Lord Christ became: “King of Peace”. The teachings of Lord Christ also included the commandment of peace, He blessed the peacemakers and greatly elevated their position with God: “Blessed (great happiness and blessing for) are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
Yes, whoever walks in peace is following in the footsteps of God, of whom it was said: “Dominion and fear belong to Him;He makes peace in His high places.” And when God blesses His people, He blesses them with peace: “The Lord will give strength to His people;The Lord will bless His people with peace”,“I will hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peaceTo His people and to His saints” Thus, whoever knows and loves God, his life will be filled with peace, even if he is faced with crises or troubles. he does not lose his peace; when Lord Christ wanted to grant His disciples a precious gift, He granted them peace: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
The peace of God is different from that peace offered by the world. Some people may think that with money, power or social status they get peace, but they are mistaken because peace is from God and through God.
Peace has become a commandment, as the Bible says: “Seek peace and pursue it,” and “Be at peace among yourselves.” This is how the life of everyone who loves God will be; a life rich in peace towards every human being. In presenting the message of peace, he exerts every effort, striving to achieve it with others, by doing good deeds of love and meekness. My brothers, how greatly our world is in need today of the “message of peace”! To the “peacemakers” everywhere and all time! To whoever strives to establish peace! So that humanity can know the meaning of lasting joy and true happiness.
Happy Nativity to all of you, and we ask God to protect our country, Egypt from all evil, and to bless it and the rest of the world with peace, and to protect everyone from wars, epidemics, diseases, and annihilation, and… stories about beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center