Today is the Eve of the Nativity in the Orthodox Church. Tomorrow is the Nativity. Those who are listening to me might be hearing this after the Eve and the Nativity have already passed. But never mind, let us return to the past, to this moment, which can always arise in one’s memory, in one’s heart, and in one’s experience. Thus, let us go back to the moment of the Eve, to the day of the Nativity of Christ.
The Nativity of Christ is the beginning of our salvation. The Annunciation, even more than the beginning, is called the “heading” of our salvation in Slavonic: that is, it as were heads our salvation, because from that moment a new eternity opens up to us. This means that everything changes, Christ is born on this earth, and we are born with Him into a new life. The Christ-Infant is in the cave, in a manger on the Nativity Eve, but at the same time we can say that an amazing wonder is taking place: the mysterious birth of Christ the Savior as a child in our hearts. And our hearts are transformed into mangers; our hearts are transformed into caves, into a Nativity scene. And our hearts mysteriously appear to be in unity, in combination, in an inner merger with the God-Child, Who is born in our hearts and in our souls.
This is not just a symbol, not just a comparison, nor just an allegory: it is more profound; it is a mysterious combination in practice. We can indeed feel in ourselves the great mystery of the birth in us ourselves of the infant Christ the Savior.
It is no accident that He becomes – like all of us, like each one of us –a baby, because it is as an infant that He will develop and grow gradually into an adult person, becoming that which He is according to His calling: in the given case, He came to save the world from the horrors of passions and death. Gradually He sets off on the path of the One Who will take the Cross and carry it to Golgotha, where He will be crucified, and suffer, and die for us, for me, and for every one of us.
In my heart, I experience this, I feel this; and this, I can say, I undergo in myself, because it is so profound in the life of man, that one just needs to press a button, and this already appears, just like a television or the recording that I am now making, because this is a profound mystery, but it is a mystery namely because it is a reality, the reality that a new life begins in man, in Jesus Christ. Christ the Savior was born an infant into my heart along with me; He grows, goes, and leads the way to salvation on Golgotha, to suffering, to the Cross. I come and venerate the Cross and at that moment feel that I am here, and that Christ is here, and that we are together, that we are one. And in this birth I already feel the resurrection and new life, and victory, and joy, and happiness and, what is most surprising: this combination of all this in the image and likeness of the Divine Trinity. An eternal, holy, sacred, divinely-established, and Trinitarian life has begun.
Translated from the Russian.