of the Primate of the Armenian Church in Germany
HE Bishop Serovpé Isakhanyan
Dear sisters and brothers,
Today is Christmas, the birth festival of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the words of the Armenian Christmas Hymn "a great and wonderful mystery". The reading from the New Testament during today's Holy Christmas Liturgy tells us again the wonderful story of the Holy Nativity of Jesus Christ. Many well-known songs and hymns are heard - soul-stirring works of the glorious holy fathers of our Church․ The angels from heaven joyfully proclaim: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men with whom he is well pleased". It warms our heart, fills us with a warm and comfortable feeling. There's something mysterious in the air.
What are we celebrating today? - The birth of a child. But a child who is the Son of God, the Savior of mankind, the Prince of Peace. A child who makes us believe and confess that "God is with us". We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is also the Son of Man, born of Mary. The child born today is proof of God's infinite love for us humans. Mary gives birth to this child because God loves us. The love of God is the real reason for the birth of Jesus. In the baby Jesus and with him, God comes into the world with all his love. God becomes man and is born as a child. Jesus unites heaven and earth in himself. This is the great and wonderful mystery of Christmas that we celebrate every year.
At the birth of Jesus, the angels in heaven sang and praised him, and shepherds and wise men came to adore him. Now we are standing in front of a Christmas crib. Today we are given the opportunity to bow down before the incarnate Savior and to glorify Him - not only with our mouths but also with our hearts and truly, with sincere faith and good works, through our godly living. In this way divine counsel is realized in human life and God's purpose is fulfilled in our individual, family, community and public life. In this way we will allow the love of God to spread everywhere and the will of God to rule on earth - "Thy will be done...". Only in this way will the birth of Jesus become a Christmas celebration for all of us.
We often seek God in distant, inaccessible heavens, though God is with us through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. We don't need to look far for him. He is with us, beside us, in us, among us. We should seek and find him today and always in our neighbors, in the people around us.
The Christian Church does not celebrate the birth of the Lord as an event that happened more than 2,000 years ago and happened before a few people. Christmas Story is not a beautiful fairy tale that has been told over and over again to the world for more than 2020 years. We believe in the eternal Jesus Christ, who is "yesterday, and today, and forever." Jesus was not born to live 33 years and disappear. And it's not just a mere memory that remains of him. He is an abiding and eternal presence today as well. He is also the Lord and Savior of man today. The Christian faith is rooted in the faith in the living God, who was and is made present to us through Jesus Christ, with him and through him. That is the Christian faith. And you should have this faith, keep it alive, not lose it, pass it on. And the best place and way for us Armenians to keep this faith alive, to live together and to pass it on to the next generation, is the Armenian Church, starting with St. Etchmiadzin, the never-ending seal of God on the soil of our homeland, up to all corners of the world, "the birthplace of the Armenian soul" which "has a secret way to heaven" through Jesus Christ.
In the face of all current challenges in life, God in Jesus Christ gives us hope and confidence, which we need like air and water, especially in these difficult and uncertain times of the Corona pandemic, in view of the worrying geopolitical developments around our homeland Armenia and Artsakh, in view of the fragile peace around the world. Let us open our hearts to the Son of God and allow him to work in us and through each one of us, so that our individual and communal hopes may come true and be fulfilled. In this sense, Christmas should be a contemplative celebration for all of us, in our private lives, in our families, in our community and in our country, because Jesus was born yesterday and today for us.
Requesting the blessing of the newborn Saviour, I wish all the institutions and facilities of our German-Armenian community, the diocesan and community bodies, the clergy, the members of our community all the best for the New Year 2022 and for Christmas.
Along with His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and the entire Armenian clergy, I pray for the prosperity of our beloved homeland, the Republic of Armenia, and for peace around the world and especially on our borders. I pray for the realization of the just rights and expectations of our sisters and brothers in Artsakh. I pray for the Armenian Church and the steadfastness of the Mother See of St Etchmiadzin for the successful ministry of our diocese and parishes. God protect us all.
Happy New Year and Merry Christmas!
"Christ was born and appeared".
"Great good news for you and for us". Amen!
Bishop Serovpe Isakhanyan
Primate of the Armenian Church in Germany
January 6, 2022