Christ is born in Bethlehem. The Son of God – infinite, unseen, beyond comprehension – comes to earth and becomes a man, bound by flesh and bearing all the hardships and sorrows of this world. He is born today in a cave in Bethlehem, to be rejected and persecuted by this world in order that mankind – and this means each one of us – would be given two remarkable things that man has always longed to have. He comes in order to give man Power and Wealth.
Only the Lord does not give the kind of power and wealth of which some, like Herod, may dream, whose entire goal in life was to attain such. Herod so highly valued this goal that he did not even spare his own children, and when he heard that the true King of the Jews had come to earth he was very much afraid of losing his earthly power and wealth.
The wealth that Christ brings, however, is the marvelous wealth of Faith, which enables man to walk on water and move mountains, and which can make a man not see himself at all in this world, but see only Christ God Himself and live only in Him.
The Lord has brought us a wealth of love, because He Himself is Love. This is a Love that goes to the cross, is crucified, sacrificing itself. This is a love that is willing and able to overcome everything in this world.
The Lord gives us a tremendous wealth of humility, for the meek shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). Along with this He gives a wonderful wealth of peace to every heart receptive to this gift, a peace that surpasses everything in this world and so fills a person that a thousand around him will be saved, according to St. Seraphim of Sarov.
The Lord also brings us a wealth of loving kindness. If we are ready to accept it, it is poured into our hearts, rendering us capable of forgiving those who offend us and of loving our enemies, for no one in the world can love their enemies except true Christians. This is the wealth that the Lord has given us.
The Lord has also given us true power. He says: In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover (Mark 16:17-18).
The Lord commanded such of each one of us, because He granted us the astonishing authority of being His children. He gave authority to be perfectly like Him to everyone who truly believes in Him: we can act in this world as Christ Himself acted in this world, we can live His life, speak His words, look at the world through His eyes, take in the world through His feelings and His heart. Just as the Apostle Paul said, in each one of us should be the same feelings as in Jesus Christ. You see what He has granted us!
But here is something interesting: given this amazing wealth, given this extraordinary power, we always ask something silly of God, we seek small things from God, which in fact adds up to seeking authority and wealth, but of a pitiable kind: earthly wealth and authority, earthly prosperity, earthly success, the ability to act in this world according to our capabilities.
We think that this is so important, that this is life itself, that this contains the meaning of life – to live calmly, conveniently, successfully, and piously. Maybe this is pious, but it is not Christian, because we are too frightened to walk on water. We do not believe that we can cast out demons and overcome death. We read the Gospel, but these verses somehow do not relate to us, because this is not what we need from God, and our life seems nothing like the gift that Christ has brought us.
Today Christ is born into the world and He distributes His gifts: true power in Christ and true wealth in Christ.
Let us try to forget once and for all those little things with which we fill our lives, and let us truly and profoundly seek the true power of Christ and the true wealth of Christ: the desire to be with Christ, to be in Christ, and ourselves to be Christ, Who is today revealed to us in His bright and joyful Nativity. Amen.
Translated from Russian.