Put Off the World to Put on Christ

As we continue our sojourn through the Nativity Fast to the celebration of Christmas, the birth in the flesh of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, we are called upon to think about ourselves in terms of why do we need Christ, and why is His Birth of any importance to our daily lives.  This requires us to think about ourselves as God created us to be, and what we have become as humans interested in our own wills more than in God’s will.

We have become sinners, separated from God. God for His part, continues to love us and to invite us come back to Him. To accept God’s loving invitation, we realize though we are created in God’s image and likeness, we have become unlike God – we are sinners beset by passions and temptations which lead us down the steps away from God into death.  And then we realize but then also the steps of the ladder which raise us up to heaven – which God has set before us – Jesus Christ.   St. Gregory Palamas writes:

“If anyone wishes to be . . . delivered from outer darkness, deemed worthy of the unfading light of God’s kingdom and to live for ever at rest with the saints in heaven, let him put off the old man, who is corrupt with deceitful lusts (cf. Eph. 4:22), these being

drunkenness,                                                         

fornication,                                                  

adultery,                                            

impurity,                                      

covetousness,                                

love of money,                          

   hatred,                    

anger,               

slander,         

and every evil passion.

And through his deeds let him put on the new man renewed in the image of his Creator (cf. Col. 3:10), in which is

                              charity,

                       brotherly love,

                purity,

        self-control and

every type of virtue.

Through these Christ dwells within us, reconciling us with Himself and one another, to His glory and the glory of His Father without beginning, and of the co-eternal, life-giving Spirit, now and forever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.”  (St. Gregory Palamas: The Homilies p 459)

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