January 2018 Letter
Congratulating you on the New Year and the Nativity Feast, praying that this year would be a blessing to us all. On the occasion of the Nativity Feast, we would like to share a contemplation by H.H. Pope Tawadros on the verse: “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa 9: 6):
God wanted to prepare the world to receive the birth of Christ; He gave symbols through people who foreshadowed the presence and advent of Christ (such as Joseph the righteous), and events such as the burning bush. He also prepared us through the prophecies of the Old Testament, such as this verse from Isaiah.
His name: The name of the Lord is the only name for the salvation of man. In the church tradition there is a prayer called the Jesus Prayer: “O Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me the sinner.” And then Isaiah of the Prophet describes the name of Christ with five titles:
- Wonderful: His name is wondrous means a wonder maker. He is wondrous in the repentance of sinners, and His name is wondrous in giving joy to every person. The importance of His wondrous name is regarding uniting divinity and humanity: God is with us. And this is the privilege of Christianity that God did not address us from afar or did not redeem us from afar but actually came in our midst and bridged the gap between humanity and God.
- Counselor: meaning the source of advice and wise-counsel, i.e. one who does not need to consult others. The church teaches us that God sends us this counsel through His word, the Bible. This is why the church advises us to constantly read the Bible and use it as our “counselor” in our daily lives and decisions.
- Mighty God: meaning He is omnipotent. This name is reserved for God alone. The church reminds us of this during Holy Week when we sing: “Thine is the power and glory”, for You are the embodiment of the power and glory in spite of the perceived weakness of the Cross and Passion.
- Everlasting Father: The word father is a beautiful word that we love and address God in prayer: “Our Father in heaven”. This title is not temporary, it is eternal for He is our heavenly Father, with all the meanings of paternity. The devil often fights man that God has forgotten him in the midst of the crowds, or his sins have completely separated him from God and His care and attention, or he makes you doubt God’s love for you. But when you remember that your Christ is an everlasting Father, you realize that His care lasts all your life and that His love is not dependent on your actions, it is unconditional. God hates sin but at the same time He loves the sinner.
- Prince of Peace: The meaning of Prince is that He’s the source of peace, as we say in the melody: “O King of Peace grant us your peace”. There is no other source of peace except Christ himself, as He said: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you (John 14: 27). There is no peace anywhere except through the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, and what forbids peace from man is primarily his sin.
If you keep these five points in front of you, you’ll feel the blessings of the advent of Christ and His incarnation for you.
May the blessing of Christ the incarnate Logos be with us all. Amen.
Belleville, January 1, 2018