In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One God, Amen.
Happy New Year and Merry Christmas. I congratulate you for the glorious birth of our
Lord Jesus Christ. Celebrating Christmas as celebrated by the whole world on December 25th is
extended through the beginning of the calendar year and then celebrated by us according to the
Eastern Coptic calendar on January 7th. Christmas is a renewal of our joy and happiness. In the
story of Christmas, we see many events and figures but I would like to point out two events.
The wise men came from a distant land, followed the star until they came to Bethlehem,
worshipped the baby, and then offered their gifts. This was the end of their trip. On the opposite
end, the shepherds saw the angel who gave them the good news. They came to the manger and
saw the baby Jesus with His mother, and this was the beginning of their trip. One group was the
end, and the other group was the beginning. The beginning of joy was accomplished by the name
of “Emmanuel, God is with us.” That is why we became glad. In a few words I would like to
meditate with you about one of the main objectives of the Birth of Christ, that is, giving joy to
mankind. All details and figures of the story are provided to give happiness and joy. We praise
with the angels saying: "Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and goodwill toward men!"
(Luke 2:14). The phrase “goodwill toward men” means happiness and joy to mankind. Our Lord
Jesus Christ came to give joy to every heart. The question now is: What are the elements of giving
joy? Let me talk with you about the elements of joy.
1- The 1
st element of joy in the Nativity is the Virgin St. Mary. She gladdened us with her
righteousness and purity. No person can gladden others unless he or she is righteous and pure.
There is no way good fruit will come out of a bad tree. People’s joy comes through those who are
pure, righteous, and pious.
2- The 2
nd element is the Magi (wise men). They gladdened us by their visit and gifts. When they
came to offer their gifts they made us happy. People can gladden others through visitations and
courtesy. According to the Biblical command: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with
those who weep” (Romans 12:15). Offering our materialistic or emotional gifts, such as words and
smiles, is the most precious and most easily available gift.
3- The 3
rd element is the shepherds. They gladdened us because they were watchful and honest.
They were simple people working in the desert and taking care of their sheep. They saw the angel
who brought them the great news. They came with haste and faithfulness. People can gladden
others through their faithfulness and loyalty. A faithful life will always give happiness to others
and gladden God, as the scripture says: “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of
life” (Revelations 2:10).
4- The 4th element that gladdened humanity in the story of the Nativity is the village Bethlehem.
It was a very small village, not aforementioned, but one that gave us joy as it became a shelter for
St. Mary and the little Child, our Lord Jesus Christ. People can gladden others when they provide
them shelters, as the Bible says: “I was a stranger and you took Me in” (Matthew 25:35). Everyone
should provide shelters for the needy, the poor, and the less fortunate. The orphans, the elder, the
handicapped, and all needy should be provided shelters, as was the case in Bethlehem. Now
Bethlehem is mentioned on every tongue as it provided shelter for our Lord Jesus Christ. It should
take pride in this.
5- The 5th element that provided happiness to people is the angels who appeared and sang this
praise: "Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and goodwill toward men!" (Luke 2:14). This
verse became a joyful and beloved sign, and a voice for the angels. People can gladden others
through their prayers, worship, and praise. Joyful worship gladdens others.
The story of the Nativity and Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ is for our salvation. It is
so unique that our Christ would provide the answer to the question, “How do we gladden others?”
You may meditate on the details of this event to find more figures and spiritual exercises on how
to gladden others.
In the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, I congratulate all our Coptic Orthodox Churches,
all bishops and priests, the fathers the monks, and the mothers the nuns. I congratulate all Christian
people, all boards of churches, all servants, all youth, all children, and all families. I congratulate
all of you on behalf of the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Holy Synod, and all organizations in
Egypt. I congratulate you, my beloved children, and wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new
year. May Christ bless your lives with all goodness, joy, love, and peace. Glory be to God, Amen.