"What shall we bring you, O Christ, Who for our sake, was born on earth as man? Every creature brings thanks to You: Angels their songs; the heavens a star; Wise Men gifts; Shepherds amazement; the earth a cave; the wilderness a Manger; but we - a Virgin Mother." — Troparion from the Great Vespers of the Nativity

Dearly Beloved In The Lord,

During this Holy Season of Our Lord’s Incarnation we are invited to join the Magi on their journey to Bethlehem of Judea where we will find the King of Heaven and Earth. These three Wise Men traveled with the guidance of one star from the heavens which illumined their road to the place where the Christ was born: “and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the Christ was.” Matthew 2:8 - 9

For us, our guiding star is the Word of God, the Holy Gospel and all the Scriptures, in which the prophet wrote: “Your law is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105   A lamp to our feet so that we may walk in the light of righteousness all of our lives; a light upon the road which we are traveling in life so that we may not lose focus or let worldly cares take over.

Upon arriving at Bethlehem, the Magi came before the Holy Child and His Mother and knelt down to worship the Savior; they opened their treasures and offered gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Holy Communion and Confession are the means by which we, too, become “wise” by offering three gifts to the Christ Child. We offer Him as gold - the purity of our heart and our intentions to avoid every evil thought and weakness; instead of frankincense we offer Him a soul that burns with love for God and all humanity; and instead of myrrh we present Him with a lifestyle that is worthy of Christian Orthodox living; a lifestyle that is replete with His love and our acceptance of this gift through our deeds, prayers and repentance.

The Magi, having worshiped Christ, did not return on the same road which brought them to the Savior. They changed their route and returned “to their country by another way.” Matthew 2:12

It is very important that we, too, change our direction. As we celebrate these Holy Days with our families and loved ones, we should not return to the same path we have taken for so long. “By another way” let us change our lives. These days are full of grief, uncertainty and dispute; let us bring the spirit of the Lord which is full of peace, reconciliation and mercy for everyone. “By another way” let us not repeat our previous mistakes. “By another way” let us follow the true path of Christian virtues.

As we celebrate the Birth of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, my prayer is that we look deeply into our lives and flee all the bad habits that may be distracting us from a life in Christ, actions that may lead to spiritual death, and that we begin a new journey “by another way” that will bring us to life eternal.


With Love in the Incarnate Logos,
+ G E R A S I M O S
Metropolitan of San Francisco