We, who are born on this earth from the old Adam, must die and resurrect. Today marks the birth of the New Adam, who recreates us for a new life. We may not fully grasp this yet, but truly, with each drop of Christ's blood, a new person is born. This new person is born within our hearts because where Christ is, there is life. The Lord has brought us to the church not to have us seek refuge from the world's worries and troubles but so that we will all strive for a new life that can only be found in God.
It is true that we are not about to enter the Kingdom of Heaven right now. It would be wonderful to say, "Lord, we have let go of all worldly concerns, embraced Your love, and now we are ready for Eternity." However, once we leave the church, we will once again find ourselves surrounded by sin, outside and within. Yet, we shouldn't fear it because Christ is within us, and He has overcome this world. Essentially, everything occurring in it – all politics, all economics – becomes insignificant if we have found God. There is no need to dwell on all these things because we already live differently and should continue to do so by loving one another, having faith in each other, and helping one another. That is why we are here - to start a new life. Perhaps it will not begin tomorrow, and we might falter a thousand times. However, we know that we can rise again, come to the church, and find Christ waiting for us. He is always waiting. He calls us: "Come to me, all who labour and are heavily laden, and I will show you the way." But we are not ready yet.
It is now the festive season, and these days are free from fasting. However, this doesn't mean we should indulge recklessly. Rather, it is a time to live joyfully in the presence of the Lord. It is a time to embrace the love that we have received from Christ and to share it with one another. In doing so, we are truly living our lives. Understand that our existence is not about accumulating material wealth; all such pursuits are futile in this world. Instead, it's about learning to live beautifully.
You are all so beautiful today because God resides within you. Always hold onto this belief. Even when you make mistakes, do not let sin deceive you. You are still beautiful, and you will always be beautiful because Christ is already within you. Seraphim of Sarov taught us that receiving communion even once fills us with the hope of eternal life.
My beloved, a wise Serbian theologian, a holy man, once likened communion to an atomic bomb that strikes at the heart of hell, dealing a blow to the devil when people partake in it. It is a moment when people set aside their petty disputes and conflicts, filling their lives with strife in the absence of God. Therefore, I urge you to truly rejoice today and in the coming days. Let's express gratitude to God for leading us into a new life with Christ, a life that extends into eternity, where there is no sickness, no sorrow, and no grief—only love Perhaps we still struggle to fully comprehend what it is, but maybe we already understand something. It's in the moments when we listen to our parents when we refrain from hurting others, and when we speak only kind words and eschew evil ones. That's love.
Congratulations on receiving the gift of God's love. My hope for you is that you would hold this precious gift close to your heart, realizing its value and never letting it go, nor trading it for worldly temptations as Isaac did. Our true identity transcends any earthly title or rank. No matter what distinctions exist in this world, we are Orthodox Christians, followers of the King of Heaven, living by the law of a fully different life. We are not subject to the laws meant to restrain others; we have found our Teacher in Christ.
Each person has a unique connection with God, a deeply personal understanding of Him. Yet, as we draw nearer to God, we also draw nearer to one another. Gradually, we become one body – the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. This unity possesses an indomitable strength that no sin or adversary can overcome, for God is with us. In the evening service, we are reminded: "God is with us, understand, O nations, and submit yourselves, for God is with us!"
May God guide us on a direct path to Christ, free from wandering or stagnation. Let us move forward courageously with Christ, unafraid of the narrow and challenging road ahead, for it leads to Eternal Life.
Archpriest Andrey Lemeshonok
Preached after the Night Divine Liturgy on the feast of the Nativity of Jesus Christ on 07.01.2020.