December 2012

Dear Friends,

I greet you in the name of the Prince of Peace Whose name these days is so purposefully overlooked that the very celebration of His birth, the Christmas Advent, now begins on a Black Friday shrouded by empty salutations of happy holidays and season’s greetings. We are so caught up in our consume-or-be-consumed society of self-indulgence, as Dostoyevsky points out, that we actually “judge others and ourselves by the quantity and quality” of the Christmas gifts we give and are given. Rather than following the star to adore “the King of Angels” as did the wise men before us, we have foolishly become like Pontius Pilate, as we wash away any reference of Christ’s birth as Messiah, Lord and Savior. (Please read Mark 8:38)

Why is it, I ask, that we insist on giving our children everything our parents could not afford to give us and yetdesist from giving them the priceless things of value that our parents did give us – – – our faith, culture and legacy? We buy them apps, but not aptitude for living; we give them toys, but neglect to give them life’s tools; and we give them the best of cars, but without giving them the best road to travel through life. Surprisingly and sadly, out of our abounding love we’ve given our children an entitlement mentality as opposed to a gratitude mindset!

Speaking the truth in love, and in light of tragedies like Sandy, I ask you to make the time to tell the people you love that you truly love them. Tell them that God’s blessing of health is the greatest wealth and that everything else is fool’s gold. Tell them the real story of Christ’s birth and the Season’s reason for Santa Claus, bright lights and wrapped presents under Christmas trees. Take them and yourself to Church for Christmas and at home read Luke 2:1-20 around your dinner table or fireplace.

Xanthi, Yiayia, our children and 8 ½ grandchildren join me in offering you this simple Christmas prayer: May the Bethlehem Child increase in you His grace; and multiply your days with many, many years; and bless you throughout those years with a joyous and happy life.

Christ is born — glorify Him,

Fr. Alex Karloutsos