O Blessed Child, like the awe-stricken shepherds, my eyes gaze upon Your divinity as You lay swaddled in the humble manger. As I attempt to contemplate the unfathomable mystery of Your Miraculous Birth, the vignettes of the year 2015 pass before my eyes. What a tumultuous journey, one which I compare to the rough road that Your parents embarked on from Nazareth to Bethlehem. O Infant Child, grace upon us the tranquility of Your innocence.

I stare at the Magi from the East who kneel before Your redemptive presence. I cannot help but to recall the tribulations in the Middle and Near East. It is haunting to remember the bloodshed in Nigeria and Yemen at the beginning of the year. In my prayers, I remember the Egyptian Christian martyrs who were mercilessly beheaded. It is with pity and anguish that I reflect on the destruction of historical monuments in Iraq and Syria, which stood as modern-day remnants of ancient civilizations. O Infant Child, reconcile us with the good tidings.

As I look upon Your freezing manger warmed by the breath of the sheep, I am reminded of the countless homeless refugees and those who passed away from natural disasters. My heart grieves for the families of the victims of the devastating earthquakes in Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere. I remember and feel the torment of the loss of thousands of travelers who perished during air, marine, and other catastrophes in Egypt, Sudan, Indonesia, France, Taiwan, Mali, Brazil, Ukraine and other countries. O Infant Child, console us.

Internal strife, vicious wars, untamed animosity, and ruthless terror around the world, and especially in Africa and the Middle East, have smeared the year 2015 with blood. We still mourn the casualties of the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino which claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent people. O Infant Child, grace upon us Your heavenly peace.

Your Miraculous Birth is the source of a new life, from which true happiness derives – the New Wine which “gladdens hearts” (Psalm 104:15) and enlivens the days of the year. O Infant Child, blessed is Your Nativity!

Through Your Incarnation, we encounter in our lives the immense love and the divine intervention of God, the Father. O Infant Child, we glorify Your love-filled divinity with spiritual hymns!

For the mystery of Your Incarnation can only be comprehended in the context of Your infinite love and in the invitation for salvation extended to each of us. It is with a favorable response and with profound gratitude that we celebrate today Your Nativity and Theophany. May Your Birth be always blessed, Lord!

By approaching You, entrusting You, following Your light, and fulfilling Your commandments with commitment and willingness, I strive to become an insignificant instrument in Your salvific mission. Prince of Peace, enlist us in Your army!

Your Miraculous Birth is the symbol of a victorious life, one which is testified by the one and a half million newly canonized saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church. For we continue to live and believe, be hopeful and courageous in knowing that neither death nor the evil one could defeat us. The woes of the world shall not intimidate us, for through Your Nativity we find strength, hope, and renewal to continue to thrive. O Lord, bless us!

Christ is Born and Revealed! Blessed is the Revelation of Christ, our Lord!

Archbishop Hovnan Derderian
Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church

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