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“The coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ into the world is one of the few interludes of joy which tormented humanity has enjoyed over the course of its history. This is illustrated in the angelic tidings of the Nativity to the simple shepherds in Bethlehem: ‘Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day… a savior, who is Christ the Lord’ (Luke 2, 10-11). It is also reflected in the wonderful hymnography of our Church: ‘Rejoice you righteous, exult you heavens, skip you mountains, for Christ is born’…This is because the entirely good God of love, in His mercy, did not abandon His creation to the sentence of eternal subjection to evil and the degradation of sin. Instead, He sent His precious Only Son to redeem the human race, putting to flight His opponent, the devil, the author of evil and source of all unhappiness.” (Lambros Skontzos)

“Sitting there I understood that one of the great battles fought in this battered and precious earth is the one waged by the human heart to reimagine God as good when pain and fear have hidden his face. Despair is the long and subtle work of evil. Satan triumphs within our suffering, not just in the bringing of pain but by wrecking God’s radiant image within our imagination….What does God desire of us? To respect ourselves, because we are precious in His sight. When He sees us, He sees His Son shining through us. He greatly desires for us to see the Spirit of His Son, the Spirit of the Lord, living within us, shining more than all the gold in Solomon’s Temple.” (Sarah Clarkson, Frank Hammond)

“As we work to resolve the past experience by getting out any lingering anger, grief, etc. and coming to terms with it, we will find ourselves starting to react to the present in a healthy way. It will take vigilance in the beginning to maintain this new awareness and we ought not to get discouraged by occasional set-backs, they are normal. Increasingly, we will see and experience that our present life is what we make of it and see those in the present for who they are - God given people in our life who we have for a short time. The present is just too precious and beautiful to be colored and clouded by the past. Separate the two, resolve the past, and our spiritual growth and theosis will improve dramatically.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)

“ “In My Father’s house [oikia] there are many mansions [monai]. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2) Nowhere else is there a more splendid description of what happens when we pass through this life beyond death and into the everlasting life that awaits us. Here is the most precious view of heaven in the Bible. On the other side of death are mansions for us all. Mansion, you say, and for me? Do we really need mansions? Another interesting thought is that the Father’s abode is a house. Our loving Lord appears to be saying that the house is a residence where the whole family is at home, and the Holy Trinity is present throughout. No rooms are off limits, and yet we each have a mansion of our own. Space to be ourselves and still one of the family of God.” (Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky)

“Every created being is precious in God’s eyes. He cares for every creature, and everyone finds in him a loving father. Even if we turn away from God, God does not turn away from us: ‘If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful, for he cannot deny himself‘ (1 Timothy 2:13). Whatever happens to humankind and to the whole of creation, however far it may remove from God, he remains faithful to it in his love, which he cannot and will not deny.” (St. Isaac the Syrian)


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