Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Met Ephrem (Kyriakos)'s Christmas Message 2019

Arabic original here.

Christmas Abstinence

"They had all things in common" (Acts 2:44). An experienced elder says that poverty is for the soul what the eyes are for the body. "Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Luke 6:20).

This means that for the rich, money constitutes a danger and an impediment to salvation. So one must have detachment from wealth and earthly matters, which makes one worthy of acquiring a sense for spiritual matters, matters related to God and His commandments.

This social, political and especially economic crisis that we are currently experiencing is without a doubt a source of sorrow and suffering for many. But at the same time it is an occasion permitted by God in order to help some faithful people to practice abstinence in their life and to experience something of the poverty that brings them closer to God and to the needy. Likewise, fasting and avoiding any banquets and nighttime parties that have nothing to with God can liberate us from the consumerist society in which we live and bring us closer to God. So let us understand the divine mysteries that spring from God's dispensation in the flesh and the profound meaning of the Feast of the Nativity. How not, when we see the child Jesus, God incarnate born "wrapped in swaddling cloths, and laid in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn" (Luke 2:7).

All of this does not mean that we must not rejoice during the feast and eat and drink after the forty-day fast. It means that we limit ourselves at our tables, in our dress and in our gifts, especially during these hard times that we are experiencing in our country, that we think of each other in our parishes, that we think especially of the poor, the needy, those who sorrow, because Christ has put on their garments and has loved them very much!

Metropolitan of Tripoli, al-Koura and their Dependencies

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