Give thanks to the Father, Who has made you worthy to share in the inheritance of the holy ones

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“Give thanks to the Father, Who has made you worthy to share in the inheritance of the holy ones (in light). He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He (Christ) is the image of the invisible God.” (Colossians 1:12-15)

It is already the midpoint of the liturgical season of Philip’s Fast. Hopefully, we have all been spending extra time in prayer and fasting in preparation for the glorious and joyous celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord. We have just celebrated the American holiday of Thanksgiving, giving thanks to the Almighty Lord God for the good things we have received from Him throughout the year. We continually give thanks to the Lord daily. During each Divine Liturgy, the priest prays: “Let us give thanks to the Lord.” And the faithful respond: “It is right and just…”

In the Epistle of St. Paul to the Colossians, we read: “Give thanks to the Father, Who has made you worthy to share in the inheritance of the holy ones…”(1:12) Our Heavenly Father sent His Only-Begotten Son into the world to deliver us from the power of darkness, from evil inclinations and the temptations hurled at us by the devil. Christ, God Eternal, was born of the Virgin Mary at the appointed time to redeem us from sin. Christ, Our God, is a God of Love. Jesus, the Son of God, became liken to us in all things, except for sin. He is a perfect God and perfect man. He is the beloved Son in Whom the Heavenly Father is pleased.

The invisible God was made visible in the person of Jesus. Jesus Christ is the image of God, the Heavenly Father. The voice from the Heavens, God the Father, would state aloud: “This is My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him.” This voice could be heard at the Baptism of Our Lord in the River Jordan and also at the Transfiguration of Our Lord on Mount Tabor.

Soon we shall be singing Christmas carols, announcing the great mystery of Incarnation of the Word of God among us. Soon we shall sing: “God is with us! Understand all you nations, and submit yourselves: for God is with us!” (from the Great Compline sung on the eve before Christmas) As in today’s epistle, there is the contrasting of light from darkness. Christ is the Light of the world. Heaven, His Kingdom, is a Kingdom of Light where the saints and just repose. A verse from the “God is with us” prayer states that “The people that walked in darkness (sin) have seen a great Light (Christ).”

Our Lord in the great depths of His loving kindness has promised repentance and forgiveness of sin so that all who repent may be saved. Let heaven and earth rejoice. Let the shepherd kneel in humble adoration. Let angels from the heavens proclaim His glory and praise. On the joyous Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord, we celebrate the fulfillment of God’s promise to one day send a Redeemer to free us from the bondage of sin. This we sing in the Ukrainian Christmas carol, “There is Joy in Bethlehem – В Вифлеємі новина.”

Rev. D. George Worschak

 

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