This is the sermon Metropolitan Methodios gave at the Cathedral for the feast day vespers (I know I said I would not blog about that weekend again but here I go). You can also read it on the Metropolis website. As always, his homily is filled with challenges for all of us who call ourselves Christians:
To the Rev. Clergy and devout laity of the Metropolis of Boston:
Beloved children of the Incarnate Savior,
This Christmas, I will kneel together with you before the manger of Bethlehem to worship the Word of God, “Who for us men and our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man”. This Christmas, we will relive the sublime mystery that, “though he was in the form of God…he emptied himself taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2, 6-7). Jesus comes this Christmas as a radiant light to shine upon “a people who walk in darkness, who dwell in the country of the shadow of death” (Isaiah 9, 1-2).
The light emanating from the manger is the Savior of the world. Christ the Incarnate Lord breaks through the gloom of despair to dispel the darkness, to enable us to understand the meaning and the value of human life. In the silence and the darkness of the night, the light emanating from the cradle is the source of hope, of renewal and of salvation.
Sadly, modern man, too preoccupied with his self perceived importance, will not see that light. He will not have room in his life for Christ to be born, because he needs his space for his own interests. He has no time for God or for his neighbor….the poor, the suffering, the hungry, the homeless. This is especially true of those who are rich in material things. Their space is filled with their selves—there’s no room for others. Indeed, “He came to his own and his own did not receive him” (John 1, 11). The Word of God enters into the world, but He is not noticed. He is not received. He is ignored. Indeed, many of us live as if Christ the Savior was never born.
Let us ask ourselves this Christmas: Do we have room in our hearts for the Son of God or for our neighbor? Do we have room in our lives for those who suffer, or is all our space cramped with our narcissistic interests, our sinful thoughts and desires?
My brothers and sisters,
“To all who received him he gave the power to become children of God” (John 1, 12). I join you in praying that the Divine Infant finds space in our hearts and in those of brethren throughout the world, so that every human being may come to know the power of His saving Grace. He alone can transform evil into good and darkness into light.
May the light of Bethlehem radiate wherever the horizons are bleak with despair — in Iraq and Iran, in Afghanistan, in Korea, in Darfur. May it shine in America’s cities and neighborhoods. May the light of Christ shine wherever human rights and dignity are trampled upon. May it shine wherever suffering seems to be interminable. May it shine wherever the selfishness of individuals prevails over the common good. May it shine where the exploitation of man by his fellow man is taken for granted. May the light from the cradle shine wherever terrorism continues to strike, and the basic needs of day to day survival are insufficient. May it shine especially in the hearts of those who live only to satisfy their selfish interests.
This Christmas, let us be drawn to the light which dispels sadness and fear. Let us approach the manger in humility, that our hearts and souls may be filled with hope, peace and salvation. May the Incarnate Lord choose our hearts to be born this Christmas. May He embrace us in His cradle, and may His divine light radiate in our hearts every day of the New Year.