Below is His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of the Eastern United States’ annual Christmas message.
Who Is God’s Son?
You are my beloved Son. (Mark 1:11)
On the occasion of the New Year, and especially the birth and baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ, the testimony of God, the Father, about our beloved Lord, impels us to ponder on the doubtless and inexhaustible love that our people had, and continue to have, toward Christ, His commandments, and ethical comprehension.
The message of the birth that was delivered by the angels clearly announced to us that the glory of God always rules over the world, seeking peace and good will amongst humankind. And 30 years after the birth of Christ, God’s proclamation was incarnated once more, became life and message through Christ’s baptism and the testimony given by God that Jesus is His beloved Son, to whom is entrusted the Divine plan and mission, opening the road toward God, toward everlasting life and the Kingdom of God.
As Armenians we chose this road as the road of our lives, and before any other people, we made Christianity the path of our lives, remaining faithful during days of joy and pain, prosperity and tribulation, constructive and destructive times, and days of life and death. If Christ is the beloved Son of God, he has been, and remains just as beloved to us. Our character, identity, and cultural posterity have always been the sweet hymn of our existence, especially by knowing that without the life and salvation given to us by Christ we will be poor and the sap of our creative spirit will wither. What was offered to us was God’s gift and grace, to which we remained duty-bound and faithful. We made the Gospel our father, the Armenian Church our mother, as declared without hesitation at Vartanank, and we continued for centuries on the path of our faith with the same loyalty.
The Feast of the Holy Nativity and Baptism is on January 6. Are we prepared to hear God’s testimony? Are we worthy of continuing our childhood, or are the world’s problems going to distance us from the grace that became the key to our nation’s salvation and the source of our creative abilities? God’s paternity takes on meaning and purpose when we accept others as our loved ones, when we love the needy, the weak, and all those who suffer in the face of evil in the world. Let us go to them and say, You are our beloved brothers and sisters, and we come to visit you on the occasion of the Holy Nativity and Baptism because, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was in prison and you came to me.” (Matthew 25:35-36)
My message for us is to remain faithful to the legacy of our forefathers and to their true Christian spirit, to make Christ’s Gospel the power of our existence, and be guided by its strength, whose best witness is our resurrected life in spite of centuries of mortal danger and catastrophe.
Yes, let us remain the beloved children of our Lord.
Christ was born and revealed.
May His birth become a rebirth of our renewed covenant.
Eastern United States of America
Jan. 1, 2017