Christmas Message from the Armenian Catholic Church

“When the time came for her to have her baby, she gave birth to her first son, wrapped him in clothes, and laid him in a manger.”

Simple, sober words to announce the greatest event of human history since the creation of the universe. To that end, the evangelist did not need adorned, pompous sentences, as is used to do to proclaim the birth of famous personalities.

The one who came to world, in this case, is the lord of universe, the savior of mankind. To announce it, it is enough to say the essential, in order to make men know that the one who was expected for centuries has come, implementing what the prophets had predicted.

When will arrive the time, many things will be told and related about this infant. But for the present, like all the human newborns and more than them, he presents himself as a feeble creature, in need of others. And unknown to all. Nobody can imagine that infant is the Son of God. For Himself wanted to be born in a stable, having for visitors some shepherds and their flock. God did not want to use extraordinary means to transform His son’s coming on earth in a spectacular event.

Yet, in order to take the event away from any legendary suspicion, Luke the evangelist gives some information that place the nativity of Christ in a completely historical framework. He says that August, emperor of Rome, ordered that all his subjects go and register in their own hometown. Now, Mary and Joseph, although living in Nazareth, were originally from Bethlehem, the city of King David whose they were the descendants. Thus, they went to Bethlehem, where is born Jesus, the “Son of David,” accomplishing so the prophecy of Isaiah. Was it a mere coincidence that the edict of the emperor took place at the same time of the fulfillment of the prophecy? Certainly not. Involuntarily and unconsciously, the emperor was helping that the census he had ordered coincide with the accomplishment of the prophecy.

We can therefore affirm that the circumstances of the nativity of Jesus, the time and the place, even the political circumstances, were fixed from eternity. It is therefore not logical to object that this event is a mythological story, lost in the mist of history, adorned with legendary colors, sprung from the imagination of some hallucinated people, that for two centuries continues to lull and keep in deception crowds of naive and credulous followers.

The evangelist does not wrap the nativity of Christ with mysterious and marvelous circumstances, as we see in the mythological accounts. Bare and unadorned words suffice to relate the unspeakable event. “When they were in Bethlehem, she gave birth to her first son, wrapped him in clothes and laid him in a manger.”

Could we, if we were witnesses of the manger’s spectacle, realize that we are in front of the greatest event of the history, greatest than the creation of the universe, given that it is easier for God to create from nothing the universe than to resign Himself that His son, God as Himself, come down from the glory of heaven and received a human nature. And what goal for? To save the man who sinned by revolting against Him, trying to make himself His equal.

Who comes down from heaven is the creator of universe Himself, the Lord of heaven and earth. And who is coming to greet Him? Nobody; no religious or civil authorities, no relatives or friends. He comes down in absolute solitude and extreme indigence, more indigent than the most indigent of any human being. He does not deserve even a decent house or shelter, so that He could take refuge from the cold and indiscreet looks. He comes down in a grotto, having pastors for first worshipers. Who could imagine that that fragile being is the Messiah, the one whom the prophet had celebrated as “the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace”?

Certainly nobody suspected that night that a baby had come into the world to upset mankind’s history and to change men’s destiny. Even those who, being Bible scholars, should notice that a singular thing had happened that day, as did those men called magi, who came from far in order to pay homage to the “King of Jews.”

Nothing has changed since twenty centuries. Humankind is celebrating every year the birth of Christ, without seeking Christ Himself. The external appearances throw a total shadow on the mystery that gives its full meaning to the feast, transforming it to a memory of pure form or at most into an occasion of rejoicing.

It would be good to ask to ourselves in what measure Christ is present in our Christmas celebrations. It is so cluttered with futile things what have no relation with Savior’s nativity that the Savior Himself, if He comes and look for a corner to participate in the feast, He would be greeted as a stranger and would go back disappointed.

“Keep a place for Him,” in our homes, but especially in our hearts, should be our motto that day.

If we want to celebrate a true Christmas, we have to deliver it from all that clutter it uselessly, purify it, and make our hearts welcoming, so that the Son of God who will be reborn again, find there a hospitable place, an intimate corner to share our joy and make it authentic and enduring.

Manuel Batakian, Armenian Catholic Exarch for U.S. and Canada

1 Comment

  1. Did the Armenian church participate in the council of Nicea?  Your message is very accurate.  (The Apostles credo actuall preceded the Nicene Creed — not exactly the same)
    I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.   (back in 33 AD and 100 BCE many cultures had many gods and had to grow a little to get into monotheism)

    I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord.   There were a number of prophets — Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah, Daniel … but only one “Son of Man”  Messiah .. John’s Gospel)

    He was conceived by the Holy Spirit — The Holy Spirit is also called the “Comforter”  and couold be called the “energy” of God .. “the force”  … the essense in action.

    and born of the Virgin Mary.  (a first born — as the Pascal Lamb0
    He suffered under Pontius Pilate,  (the suffering is our redemptions and also fulfillment of both prophecy and “the law”) — Leviticus

    was crucified, died, and was buried. .. This was his “human m ortality”

    He descended to the dead.  (it was not hibernation)

    On the third day he rose again.  ( He conquered death in mortal form)(Aristotel: being is a mater and form composite)

    He ascended into heaven, (He returned to His real — heaven — ours too after this mortal life THANKS TYO HIS redemptions and Grace

    and is seated at the right hand of the Father.  … this fulfills Daniel and others

    He will come again to judge the living and the dead.  (He promises to come again)
    I believe in the Holy Spirit,  (the Comforter – the active energy of God)

    the holy catholic Church,  (One universal covenant with all men)

    the communion of saints,  (a community of  those redeemed by grace)

    the forgiveness of sins,  (forgiven by Our Lord through grace )

    the resurrection of the body,  (He promised this and He did it)

    and the life everlasting. Amen.  (Time is not a dimension of the spiritual realm and therefore infinity is its characteristic)

    We CAN partake but it does require acceptance of His grace (redemption) and a fair amount of study to understand the spiritual life vis-a-vis the mortal one.  Most of us do not understand the spiritual being and thus cannot understand Jesus Christ.  


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