Arabic translation (PDF, 2 pages, 520KB)
The Holy Nativity of Christ 2019
My Dear Clergy and Laity across America,
Christ is born! Glorify Him!
Since you are the God of Peace and the Father all-merciful, O Lover of
mankind, you sent us the Messenger of Great Counsel to grant us your
peace. Led to the light of your divine knowledge, we keep watch in the
night before You, and we sing to you a hymn of glory, O Lover of mankind!
(Ode 5 Canon of Nativity)
Long before the birth of Christ, the prophet Isaiah proclaimed, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; … and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6). When the prophesy came to pass and Jesus was born, the angels declared: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” (Luke 2:14)
Even before his resurrection Jesus renewed this promise, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you, not as the world gives do I give to you.” (John 14:27)
Looking at our world today we see the lack of peace in so many places. Wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and in many African countries and with the involvement of our own country in a number of these areas. A new lack of peace has now escalated in Lebanon with anti-government demonstrations as well as in Palestine and Israel and Iran. Christianity is deteriorating throughout the Middle East, the homeland of our Melkite Church. Our prayers are needed more and more for our persecuted brothers and sisters.
Peace is at the heart of the Christian faith. We can not find it in the pleasure of our war-torn world. The source of perfect peace is only found in the One made flesh &emdash; God and man &emdash; Jesus Christ born in poverty in Bethlehem. He took on our humanity to share with us his divinity. We need to proclaim to our world: Peace comes from Jesus Christ.
St. Paul tells us: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15). When I am at peace with God, I am at peace with myself. Peace is not the absence of problems &emph; rather, it is the harmony and peace we enjoy internally. Jesus is Emmanuel &endash; God with us. In turmoil an amid problems his presence brings a sense of peace. He guides, He forgives, He comforts and He grants us confidence to overcome adversities.
Like him we offer forgiveness, guidance and comfort to others. We may not be the ones to change the entire world but we can begin by being people of peace as St. Paul tells us “live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.” (2 Corinthians 13:11).
I am grateful for my clergy: priests, deacons, sub-deacons, readers and to our two sisters for their continual service given so abundantly and peacefully as they assist me in my ministry. I am grateful for all those who extend themselves in each parish to serve in many parish ministries. I am grateful to all the laity &emdash; for your support of your local parish and for this blessed Eparchy uniting all Melkites. May the peace of Christ remain with all of us.
Our God is the God of peace! as fervently the God-man Jesus Christ, reborn daily in our lives, to look on his world and fill the hears and minds of all with his peace.
I greet you in joy an beg you all to be people of peace. I keep you in prayer and ask that the prince of Peace bless you.
With my love and prayers, I remain,
Sincerely in Christ God,
✠ Most Reverend Nicholas Samra
Eparchial Bishop of Newton
Apostolic Administrator of Melkites in Mexico