DIOCESE OF THE MIDWEST
Orthodox Church in America
Nativity Of Our Lord 2005
To the Esteemed Clergy, Monastics, and Faithful in the Diocese of the Midwest:
Dearly Beloved in the Lord
Christ in born!
Once again we have come through the days of the Nativity Fast and have reached the joy of the Winter Pascha. With all that our Christmas celebrations entail-the beauty of the Divine Services; the festive activities in the home; the hospitality shared with one another; and the fellowship of family and friends-I offer you, the members of our diocesan family, my most sincere and prayerful best wishes.
I wish for you the amazement of the shepherds, that such an unimaginable miracle as the birth of the Savior should take place in our very midst. Like them, let us be filled with the sound of the angels' song of praise, and go-not alone or in isolation, but together in brotherly affection-to see the great thing that has taken place for us and for our salvation, knowing that there is salvation nowhere else but in this Holy Infant who will go to the Cross.
I wish for you the humility and faithfulness of the wise men, who laid aside all earthly cares in order to find the true Word of God and Light of the World, now born as the Son of the Virgin in Bethlehem. Like the wise men, may we also follow the guiding star to the manger and offer our very finest and richest gifts to the only One who is truly King.
I wish for you the wisdom of Joseph who, despite the onslaught of countless earthly temptations, clearly heard the voice of God directing his steps and trusted, in the very depths of his soul, that the only way was obedience to that voice.
Finally, I wish for you the peace of the most holy Mother of God. May we also be so blessed to receive the great gift that is offered us in the cave, and may we indeed keep all these things and ponder them in our hearts.
With these wishes for a most blessed Christmas, and invoking God's Blessing upon you in the New Year, I remain
Faithfully yours in Christ,