Christ Is Born, Glorify Him!
These festive words first sound out on the Feast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple (November 21/ December 4), i.e. 37 days before the actual Feast of the Nativity of Christ (December 25/January 7), and soon after the beginning of the Nativity Fast. This demonstrates that in its wisdom, the Holy Church gradually prepares us for the day we meet the salvific event of Divine Incarnation. It incorporates other Nativity-related expressions in the hymnody of the Divine Services. Among these we hear more than once the sticheron: “O cave gloriously decorate/embellish yourself.” Those words are of profound significance. On the one hand, they have a historical meaning, reminding us of the cave in which 2,000 years ago, our Lord Jesus Christ was born. Moreover, they also have a spiritual meaning: each Christian’s heart should become a cave. Thus, on the one hand the cave is the cavern in which Christ the Savior was born, and on the other, it is each person’s heart. That is the cave in which Jesus Christ is to be born. In their spiritual sense, those words refer to each Christian heart: “Prepare yourself, gloriously embellish yourself, that Jesus Christ might enter. “
It is not only these sticherae that tell us that the heart is a special repository, a special dwelling place. That is mentioned several times in Sacred Scripture: “If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”
(John 14: 23). In the final book of the New Testament, the book of the Apocalypse (Revelations), the Lord says: “Behold, I stand at the door [of your heart] and knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelations 3: 20). You see, here it again says that the heart can and must become a dwelling place for the Lord.
In the Epistles, there are frequent reminders that the heart is intended to become God’s abode. The Apostle Paul wants Christ to make his home in Christians’ hearts. The heart is the cave, where Christ is to be born.
That is a Gospel, Apostolic, and Church Truth.
But why should the heart become a dwelling-place? Why should Christ enter into it? Is it not enough for us to be kind and spiritually beautiful?
Why should we enter into fellowship with God?
The Holy Gospel reveals a Truth of which many are not aware. In order to be good, one must be with the Source of Good. In order to be strong, one must be with the Source of Strength. In order to be spiritually powerful, one must be with the Source of Spiritual Power. In order to be spiritually beautiful, one must be with the source of Beauty. For it is only in union with Him, the Source of Good, Strength, Spiritual Power, and Beauty, can a person be morally transfigured.
Just as an electric light bulb with no tie to an electrical power plant will not light up, a person needs to be connected to Power and Beauty in order to become powerful and beautiful.
Let us make efforts to gloriously decorate our hearts, so as to meet the
Nativity of Christ with joy and be made worthy in eternal life to glorify Him with the Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit.