«God returns to the life of humanity in a surprising and paradoxical way, because it is a fact that we humans had expelled Him, we had banished Him from our lives.», notes His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia in his Message for this year’s Christmas. His Eminence hastens to address a paternal request to the faithful to accept Christ’s return to the world and into their lives, and to allow Him to dwell in their hearts.
The following is the entire Message of the Archbishop of Australia for the Feast Day of Christmas:
by the mercy of God, Archbishop of the Most Holy Archdiocese of Australia, Primate and Exarch of All Oceania, to the God-loving Bishops, the gracious clergy and monastic communities, to the Presidents of the honourable Administrative Committees and Philoptochos Associations, to the teachers and students in the Schools, to those who work in the philanthropic institutions and to all the Christ-loving plenitude of the Orthodox Church in Australia, grace and peace from our Saviour Jesus Christ born in Bethlehem.
Venerable Brother fellow Bishops and my beloved children,
Most people who refer to the feast of Christmas, focus their attention on the fact that God became human in order to make us God. A basic presupposition for a human person’s progress towards theosis is repentance, which means a return to God, whom we have denied by choosing, with our actions, to move away from Him.
The Birth of Christ, however, brings to our thinking another reality. Not only is the human person called to a return and to repentance, but God’s return to the world is also signalled. God returns to the life of humanity in a surprising and paradoxical way, because it is a fact that we humans had expelled Him, we had banished Him from our lives. God was the great stranger. We did not give Him any room to be present.
On the occasion of today’s beautiful day of His Birth, I ask you to accept the return of Christ into the world and into your life. Our Orthodox faith is not an ideology, a cultural phenomenon or a simple element of our national identity that is not based on the presence of the Incarnate, Crucified and Resurrected Christ. Do not fall into the trap of this world which has created religions full of ideas and cultural elements but devoid of the presence of God. We have a living faith and a living God. We want God in our lives; He is the One whom we desire; He is the One in whom we believe; and He is the One in whom we have placed our hope.
If, therefore, you experience some trials, if you have sorrows and difficulties, believe in the power of Christ which is incalculable. And do not beg for happiness by knocking on wrong doors. Do not lean on the wrong people. Believe in Christ. Allow Him to dwell in your heart. And then you and Christ together, alone, will realise the great miracle of change in your life.
A blessed Christmas and a happy New Year!
In Sydney, on the 25th of December 2022
† Archbishop MAKARIOS
Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia