The Feast of Nativity 2020
7th January 2020
His Holiness Pope Tawadros II
I congratulate you, my beloved, for this new year 2020 AD, and, for the feast of the glorious nativity, in which we welcome the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who was incarnate for the salvation of mankind. I congratulate all the beloved ones in all dioceses, and in all Coptic Orthodox churches all over the world. I congratulate all the fathers, metropolitans and bishops, the fathers the priests, the deacons, the archons, and all Coptic people. I also congratulate the youth, children, youngsters and elders. I wish you all a happy new year always.
On the glorious Feast of the Nativity, which we celebrate annually and marks the calendar by which we live called to be “the year of our Lord,” and recall many narratives. One of the scenes of the Nativity is when the Magi came from the East and presented three gifts. These three gifts represent the life of a person; His life has days of gold, myrrh, and frankincense. However, through the Birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and its events, God offers us three gifts. God grants us many gifts that we see in the events of the glorious Nativity. These gifts are offered by God to mankind to restore to the person his or her humanity. For humanity, by which mankind exists, is very precious. On every Feast of Nativity, we remember three themes that I will speak to you about.
The first is: humanity is fulfilled when people live in love. When a person acts, lives, offers this love, it becomes a way to achieve his or her humanity. I would like to remind you with a certain scene that we love. It is the scene of the shepherds keeping watch in the fields. They were living a very simple and humble life. Yet, they were living in love, love for the flock and love for mankind. God entrusted them to be the first to receive the news of the Birth. The angel appeared and congratulated them saying: “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” (Luke 2:10). Those shepherds lived and offered love. When they received the message of the angel, they hastened to the manger in Bethlehem. They were so glad when they saw the Child in the manger, and they expressed their great love in this visit. To us, this was a lesson of expressing love and for man to live this love always.
The second gift we see was in the visit of the Magi. The Magi were strangers who came especially from the East. They were scholars in astrology. When they found this distinguished star in heaven, they realized that it was a sign to the Birth of the Lord of Truth. They took pleasure in doing good in which they were very determined that, and with persistence, they would find the birthplace of Christ by the guidance of the star. They offered good things. They came from the far east, met the king, reached the manager, and offered their gifts. This shows that they wanted to take pleasure in doing good and offer good things. They did good when they came and visited the Child, and when they offered their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But in this same scene, the scene of doing good by mankind, we remember the people of Bethlehem and the manger’s owners.
They hosted this poor woman, our mother, the Virgin St. Mary, and St. Joseph the Carpenter. She was pregnant and in need to deliver her Baby. There was no place available in the large city of Jerusalem, nor a place in the small village except in the manger. All these people did good. Therefore, the second gift is to learn how to do good always. This second gift that I offer is for you to do good. We say about God: “Let us give thanks to the Beneficent.”
In the glorious Nativity, we see Him loving the small village of Bethlehem. He also loves the big city of Jerusalem. We see Him loving the forgotten shepherds amongst the crowded world. At the same time, we see Him loving the wise men, those who lived in a place far from Judea and Jerusalem. He loves the poor and orphaned Virgin. And He also loves the widowed woman, Anna the Prophetess. He loves Joseph the Carpenter, the righteous elder, who guarded the mystery of the Incarnation. And He also loves Simeon, the noble elder, who awaited the coming of Christ. For God loved mankind in its entirety, and He came to satiate them from their now absent love. Man needed this love in order to be restored once more to his humanity.
The third gift we experience is to taste beauty. The Birth of Jesus Christ is a beautiful sight, of which the most beautiful scene was the choir of angels who appeared in heaven and sang, chanted, and declared: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” (Luke 2:14). This hymn and joyful expression was an expression of beauty. Beauty is a strong characteristic that is experienced by those who live with God. In His Birth, God showed us beauty and taught us to taste beauty and to appreciate every beautiful thing. Nature is beautiful and the fruits of the earth we eat are beautiful. What we see in the firmament, day and night, is beautiful. What we live in throughout the seasons, from winter to spring, then summer and fall, all are beautiful days. The days of a person’s life, in general, are beautiful and a gift from God.
These are the three gifts: Live with love, do good and taste beauty. These three gifts are seen in the story of the Nativity. Christmas is a new beginning. Christmas is a new joy. The Christmas is a new message for each person to begin a new year glorifying God.
I congratulate all of you for these happy days. I congratulate you on the Feast of the glorious Nativity. I offer love and greetings to all the beloved everywhere in the world. I send you this message from the land of Egypt and from the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Mother Church that sends love from all the fathers in the holy Synod, and from all the fathers in all the Coptic churches here in Egypt. I also send you greetings from our long history in which we are living that extends to all our churches everywhere in the world. May God be with you. Happy New Year and Merry Christmas.
His Holiness Pope Tawadros II
Feast of Nativity 2020