The whole of Christ’s life was a struggle with death. He, the Immortal One, was born into a life and world of dying. His life was a gradual ascent to His death on the cross. In the first days of His Nativity death raised its standard and slew the innocents, the first martyrs who stand at the throne of God. So it has been throughout the whole history of the Church, that any birth into eternal life has bean surrounded by death. Christ embraced death and was victorious. Through His Incarnation immortality has entered into our created world, the earthly has been united with the heavenly, eternity is already active and triumphant in time. This earth of ours, this visible world has already partaken of its eternal glory by the Incarnation of Christ, by His Transfiguration in the flesh and His Ascension, but also by the greatest gift that He left us – the Sacrament of the Church in which the temporal is encompassed by the eternal, in which the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, and we already now see and experience what creation will become when it is revealed in glory. And a greater glory will be revealed then, because now eternity is covertly present, but then it will be unfolded in all its strength and brilliance. And death has lost its terror for us; there is no death; not in the sense that there is no dying on earth, but dying on earth is a falling asleep, a temporary awaiting of the triumphant resurrection. Furthermore, dying on earth is no longer a separation from God, but a union with Him. Christ has thrown open to us the doors to eternal life; we have discovered that He Himself is the way and the door. How we rejoice in these days of the Incarnation of the Son of God, and how we already look forward to all the other triumphant manifestations of Godhead! How marvelous to know that our flesh is His flesh, His eternity is our eternity, and His victory – our victory!
Let is live with faith, with a lively faith that all this is not imagery but reality, that all this is the Truth of life, and that now all are alive in Christ. And we are celebrating His victory.
Published: RUSSIAN ORTHODOX NEWSLETTER No. 24, December 1971