Archbishop Elpidophoros of America Greetings to the Philadelphia Area Christmas Pageant – Posts

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His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America

Greetings to the Philadelphia Area Christmas Spectacular

St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church

Cherry Hill, New Jersey

December 13, 2021

Beloved children in the Lord,

I speak to all of you as children, for if there was ever a time for us to feel and remember the joys of childhood, it is this holiday season that surrounds the Feast of Christmas.

I am very happy to begin our series of Christmas performances here in Saint Thomas, as I know it is a family parish with great love for the little ones among us.

Through their poems, presentations and songs, our children will remind us what it is to be captivated by the Christmas spirit. For Christmas is above all the feast of the Child Jesus – the vulnerable child who was cradled in the arms of his Mother for our salvation.

This is perhaps our most sentimental party. And I don’t say “sentimental”, in a decreasing way. For feeling is feeling, and just as we love our own children, God loves every human person. Christmas brings us together as a community in a spirit of love so special that even our secular world embraces the symbols, signs and music of the season.

As Greek Orthodox Christians, we have our own special traditions and observances which are different from those of our neighbours. But we lock up in our homes and parishes much of what we find around us: from Christmas trees to poinsettias, and Christmas cookies to nursery rhymes about old Saint Nick.

Tonight, however, let’s look at our vacation through the eyes of our precious children. Let us listen to their voices and hear once again the wonderful wonder the Shepherds experienced when the Heavenly Host appeared and cried out in unison:

Δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις Θεῷ, καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς εἰρήνη, ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκία.

Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill among all peoples. [1]

Let us travel with them to the grotto of Bethlehem in Judea, and see with the eyes of our hearts the Child Jesus, who is inside each one of us.

This world can be a harsh, even voracious place. But as promised in the prophecy of Isaiah:

The wolf also will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will sleep with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fattening together; and a little child will lead them. [2]

Brothers and sisters, dear children of the Lord,

Now, let our children lead us. Let us give them our attention and our love. And let us listen and watch, as they lead us on the road to Bethlehem, where we will find the Lord Jesus Christ waiting for us in the cave of our hearts.

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