Righteousness, Peace, and Joy in the Holy Spirit

The Nativity of Christ changed everything in this world. Christ was born on the very brink of other times, on the brink of completely different stories of human life. The Nativity of Christ changed the quality of life in the entire world not only because Christ brought a new doctrine but, even more importantly, because He brought grace-filled spiritual power, with the help of which this entirely new doctrine, about which no one had ever known or imagined anything, could be incarnate by every person and implemented in his life. The life of every person has changed, and the whole world along with it, because there is a power present therein capable of directing the life of all people in a completely new direction.

What is this new life that Christ brought? What is this new power that He gave us that we might live this life? This life is characterized by three elements: righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit [cf. Romans 14:17]. Righteousness, peace, and joy are all wholly particular in Christianity. Peace with God and peace with people, with one another. The peace I give you, Christ says, is not what the world gives you; I give you a different peace, one that is Mine and particular: peace with God and with people [cf. John 14:27]. This is not peace with evil or with unrighteousness; this is a particular peace that reproves all evil in every form in which it exists; but is a peace that nonetheless protects man from the bearers of evil. This vision of righteousness is also particular. You see unrighteousness, but you do not hate the person who serves this unrighteousness; you regard him with inner peace and love. These give not simply joy, but joy in the Holy Spirit.

Vladimir Yurevich Zhdanov, “Sochel’nik” (oil on canvas, 2012)

This particular spiritual life, with its particular quality, appeared on earth with the Nativity of Christ. We are so often outraged by various forms of evil, of which there are so many on earth. Christianity always reproves evil. But how often we transfer our reproval of evil from the evil itself onto the person bearing it. But if this were right, true, and just, then Christ would not have come to earth, because is there anyone who does not bear one or another evil in himself? Are we not evil people, to a greater or lesser extent? Do we not suffer from serving evil and from manifesting evil in our lives, from one or the other? Nonetheless, Christ came to earth for the sake of every one of us and loved every person so much that He ascended the Cross for every bad person – not for the good! While reproving evil in us, He did not denounce us, He did not condemn us; He loved us with particular love. It is this particular Christian love that grants us that wondrous peace of which Christ speaks: peace with God and with people. Then our life becomes one of joy; then joy in the Holy Spirit comes to us! This is the peace that He brings to us.

Brother and sisters, let us strive to meet the Feast of the Nativity of Christ in this peace. Let us strive to enter this peace, brothers and sisters, so that our celebration of the great Feast of the Nativity of Christ might not just be a formal “celebration” of one of the feast days during which we can, for example, eat as much as our hearts desire. Let us meet this feast day in Christian manner, in that peace that the Lord brings and grants us, along with both righteousness and joy in the Holy Spirit. Amen.

January 5, 1975.

Translated from the Russian

 

 

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