Sermon by Archbishop Nathaniel (Lvov)
on the Nativity of the Most-Holy Mother of God
When people fervently await a certain day, the appearance of the dawn of that day is a great joy. Just as the dawn precedes the bright sun of the day, people were elated at the birth of the Most-Holy Virgin Mary, which preceded the birth of Christ, the Savior of the World.
Of course, by no means did all people await Christ. Of those who did, only a very few saw in the birth of the Most-Holy Virgin the heralding of the coming of Christ.
The overwhelming majority of mankind was accustomed to indifference in this regard. Christ, the Savior and Deliverer from the burdens of earthly life, was actually anticipated by many: tens or hundreds of thousands, or maybe even millions of people not only in Israel but among some of the pagans awaited salvation.
Sibyl and the finest lines of Virgil bear witness to this. But the meaning of the birth of the Virgin Mary was understood at the time only by her holy parents, SS Zacharius and Elizabeth, and a few of their closest relatives like St Joseph.
Years passed. The Light of Christ shone more and more brightly over mankind. It fell upon the earth in the cave of Bethlehem and glorified the One Who was to be the Mother of the Lord, and today we joyfully celebrate Her birth. The finest voices known to mankind mark this event in magnificent hymns and prayers, and we relish them.
But the years passed, and faith waned. And now again, just as two thousand years ago, only a few grasp the importance of today’s holiday and the Nativity of Christ that it foretells.
Mankind has once again fallen into irrational slumber, indifferent to what takes place in the spiritual world. But this slumber is far worse than that which overcame mankind milliennia ago. That was a sleep of ignorance, now it is a sleep of the rejection of Christ.
But we, the little flock of the Church of the Lord, will preserve our cherished treasure, understanding the meaning of the holiday of the Nativity of the Most-Holy Mother of God as a premonition of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Who became Incarnate for our sake.