4. Christmas Melody
It's Christmas Eve and all Christians are getting ready to celebrate the most joyful holiday of Christianity. The small beautiful village near the forest, where our little Angela lives, is decorated with countless Christmas lights.
It is snowing continuously outside and fires are burning in all the houses.
Many people are moving with sleds because of the snow. In the small village square, which is white from snow, a big fir tree is decorated with many lights.
The children take no notice of the cold and snow and wrapped up in their thick warm clothes, go from house to house singing carols. Others prefer playing snowball fights. Some of them are making beautiful snowmen. Their laughter sounds throughout the small village, which these days is living fully the spirit of Christmas. Although it is already dusk and soon the first stars will light up the winter sky, they don’t want to stop their games yet.
At Angela’s warm house, mum Sophia with her older daughter Christina have made many, tasty sweets. Now, she is resting along with Christina in the living room of their home, where their Christmas tree is. Dad Vangelis is engrossed in reading his book. He is fascinated by a great novel about the Christmas spirit. Next to him, his little son Joseph is playing quietly and happily with the toys he bought for him.
Angela is sitting near the Christmas tree and is thinking about the humble little cave, where the elder Joseph and pregnant Mary took refuge. Her mind is travelling far away to Palestine. With the eyes of her soul, she sees the star that led the three wise men up to Bethlehem, coming upon the cave and lighting it with its own heavenly light and the young shepherds with their sheep are around Christ’s manger. How much she would like to be with them!
Her imaginary travel was interrupted by the knocking on the door from little children who asked to sing some carols.
-May we sing some carols?
-You may sing them, my children, mum Sophia told them with joy and opened the door to let them in.
The children started at once to melodically sing Christmas carols, "Christ is born today in Bethlehem...". A child accompanied the carol with his harmonica and some others beat rhythmically on their metal triangles.
When they had finished, mum Sophia threw a few coins into the box in which they collected money and Christina gave them some sweets. The children, after thanking and wishing them "Merry Christmas", went to sing carols at other houses as well.
The most precious gift
Joseph and Angela were so happy that they also began singing carols. Dad, who had stopped reading, was singing softly with them. Mum Sophia, after putting a large piece of wood on the fire, sat near her little children. Joseph went immediately into her arms and Angela took the opportunity to ask her mum to tell her more about the three wise men and the birth of our Christ.
-Mummy, where did the three wise men come from to see our Christ?
-They came from very far away, from the depths of the Far East, from Persia.
-And what kinds of gifts did they bring Him?
-Gold, incense and myrrh; Gold, because He is the king of the entire world Incense because He is the Almighty God and myrrh, a valuable fragrance used in burials, prophesying the holy passion and His burial, by which He would overcome death and sin.
-Mum, what can we offer to Him since we are children?
-You will offer Him something more valuable, that He would like more than all the gifts on earth!
-What is it, mum? I want to offer it. Where will I buy it from?
-You don’t need to buy it from anywhere, because you already have it, my little girl! If you give it, you will make Him very happy!
-What is it, mum? I'll give it to Him with all my heart!
-But that’s exactly right, my baby, your precious heart. He wants you to offer Him the whole love of your heart so He will come to sit like a King on its throne. Winning your heart and soul, you will become His little princess!
-How can I offer Him my heart mummy?
-Only through your love and the absolute trust in His holy will, my child. When you will love Him with all your heart, as you love me and your dad, then He will love and adore you as I and your dad do, because you are our treasure. So you will be His precious treasure too.
Little Joseph, who was listening carefully, asked his mum:
-Mummy, if I love Him too, will I also be His treasure?
-You too, my sweet love, but also every man who will love our Christ honestly with all his heart, will be for Him His most precious treasure. That’s why God became man and came to live among us on earth to know Him better and love Him with all our heart. What didn’t happen in Paradise, He wants to happen on earth.
-What didn’t happen in Paradise, my mother? Angela queried.
-When God created man, with the power of the Holy Spirit He gave him some precious gifts which no other creature had. He gave him mind and logic to be able to think, decide and create just like his Creator.
God made him, as the Holy Bible says "in His own image". Then He gave him the ability to be "in His likeness". He said that if he stands with love, absolute trust and full obedience devoted to the will of His creator God, then the almighty God himself will let him live in His divine heart in order to become one with Him, as a baby in his mother’s womb.
God and man would become one, just like wine and water in a glass. It is the greatest gift given by the Almighty God to a creature of His own. But a necessary condition to become one is absolute trust, love and obedience to His holy will!
-Now, my mummy, I understand why Adam and Eve didn’t achieve it in Paradise. Because they didn’t believe with absolute trust in whatever our good God said and did what the evil serpent, who was evil Satan, told them.
-That’s right, my sweet girl! This is the tragic mistake made by the first created humans and they could not be one with our good God, according to His divine desire. This mistake was called "original sin" and is a heavy burden on each man, since we are descendants of Adam.
The consequences of original sin were huge in man’s life. Satan managed to darken his mind so much, that he couldn’t understand the damage he was doing to his soul with the various sins into which he was falling.
-Why couldn’t he, mummy, understand evil and in this way hurt our good God so much?
-When, my Angela, the grace of the Holy Spirit abandons man, it leaves the enlightenment of the mind at the same time. Then not only can’t man distinguish correctly good from evil but he is also driven easily by Satan’s cunning and does bad things, but which he thinks are right.
-What kind of bad things does he do without realizing that they are bad?
-I will give you examples and you will understand. Before Christ was born, people didn’t believe in the one true God, but in various false gods they had made with their imagination.
Those fake gods had many passions and meanness. They lied and did immoral things, which no reasonable man would want to do. People loved these fake gods and tried to imitate their immoral actions.
They also believed that various creations of our good God, like the sun, moon and others, were gods and worshipped them instead of worshipping our one true God.
But there was no respect and love among the people either. Their law was the power of the strongest. A woman had no value to a man. Whenever a man wanted he could send her away or even kill her.
The same thing was true for the little and helpless children. It is said that in Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire, when someone didn’t want his child, he could take him up to the mountain and leave him there to be devoured by the wild beasts. In ancient Greece, in Sparta, many disabled children were thrown from a cliff.
-Oh my, mummy, I cannot believe that people could do such bad things!
The grace of the Holy Spirit
Little Angela seemed astonished by what her mum was saying about the evil things that people can do when they go away from God.
Mum Sophia wanted her little girl to understand very well how important the presence of the Holy Spirit is for a human soul so he can live in the right way and be joyful and happy; therefore she decided to explain it to her in more detail.
-When, my little girl, the grace of the Holy Spirit abandons man’s soul, then his mind is darkened by the power of evil Satan and man can do many bad things. Man has love in his heart and peace in his soul, only by the grace of the Holy Spirit because it is the source of love and peace. Those two things give real joy and happiness to every man. But when the Holy Spirit abandons the soul of man, then real love and peace leave and worse passions prevail, such as hate, envy, jealousy, meanness, murder and others. That's why after the original sin, when the grace of the Holy Spirit left their souls, people started doing a lot of bad things.
-When, mum, did the Holy Spirit abandon man?
-As soon as Adam and Eve believed the evil words of Satan, who convinced them that our good God supposedly didn’t love people and that’s why they shouldn’t trust Him now. Satan knew very well how to remove man from the love of his God; he had to persuade him first that God didn’t really love him, and so he did not need to obey Him because he would not trust Him anymore.
But when man took the love and trust he had for His Creator out of his soul, he removed the grace of the Holy Spirit from himself, which he received at the very moment of his creation, with all the sad consequences to his soul. When the light of the Holy Spirit is removed from man, then his soul is flooded with every evil which bad Satan puts in his mind. Therefore, the worst evil that a man can suffer is to lose the grace of the Holy Spirit.
-Oh my, I now understand, mummy, how great the evil was that Satan did to man in Paradise!
-Yes, my little girl, he suffered the worst evil, as well as the whole creation of our good God, because after this terrible sin the whole world was no longer as before. People didn’t love each other and live in peace, many times they had killed each other and the rest of the creatures were not friendly to man as they were at first in Paradise. As the years passed, evil became worse and worse, so all of God’s creations, as well as man were suffering. Nobody could help to stop this evil, because Satan already ruled over everything and especially men’s souls. The only one who could help was our good God.
-How did our good God help people mummy?
-God, my child, had His own plan for man’s salvation and the return of the grace of the Holy Spirit to his soul. He couldn’t bear to see His most perfect creature living without the grace of the Holy Spirit and suffering so much from the meanness of Satan; therefore He decided to intervene.
As God can only give the Holy Spirit to man, He decided to send to earth His Son, to become man like us, to be sacrificed for all mankind and to give back the lost grace of the Holy Spirit to those who believe in Him .
With His sacrifice man could completely escape from the power of Satan, which prevailed upon him until then and the light of God’s grace would flood into him again.
Our Triune God
-Mummy, since our God is one, how does He have a Son? Is the Holy Spirit God too?
-Yes, my Angela, our God is one and triune. God is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. However, there aren’t three Gods but one.
This is what we confess every time we say in our prayer, the Creed: "I believe in one God ...". So this one and triune God created man.
-I can’t understand it, my mummy. Can you please explain it better to me?
-This, my child, is not so easy for man to understand and interpret, because it is a divine mystery. It's so difficult that it reminds me of what a little child wanted to do once on the beach.
-What did he want to do, mum?
-He wanted to empty all the sea with a spoon, into a hole which he had dug in the sand. But I will try to explain it in very simple words, so you can understand. Think, my child, about the sun. We call the bright star we see shining up in the sky, the sun. But we also feel the warmth from its rays reaching the earth. Therefore, we have the star, which is visible, that is the Sun, its light, which we see, and also its warmth, which we don’t see but we feel. We have three things that, at the same time, are one and the same thing, the sun.
That’s how we can understand the Trinity of our God. While our God is one, like the sun, at the same time He is three identities. God the Father is the sun, His only begotten Son is the light and the Holy Spirit is God's grace that warms our soul and fills it with His divine love and peace.
-So, mummy, our little Christ is God?
-Yes, my baby, our little Christ is the Son of God and our God.
God Himself is the one who came to earth as a man, so we could know Him better and love Him with all our heart. God the Father, my little girl, wanted in this way to tell everyone how much He loves us, so that He sent His own Son to save us from the claws of Satan.
At that moment the door bell rang and another group of children asked to sing carols. Little Angela ran quickly to open the door to let the children in. The young children were singing like angels and the sweet melody of carols flooded the house. A child was playing an accordion very nicely and another one a harmonica.
They were the finest carols Angela had ever heard, so she stayed there, near the children, charmed by their beautiful melody.
She remembered the angels who had come above the cave of the newborn Christ and chanted "Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth." How much she would have liked to be there too!
While the children were still singing, she imagined herself among the young shepherds of Bethlehem who were hearing the melody of the angels. She thought that she was hearing their angelic voices, which showed them the cave where the infant Christ was born, the saviour of the world. In her imagination she wanted to run with joy to the cave along with the other young shepherds.
Her Christmas wanderings were interrupted by the children’s cheerful "Merry Christmas ". The carols had finished before she noticed. But her childish imagination still wanted to run to faraway Bethlehem, near the infant Christ. When the small choir left, she came closer to her mum and asked her:
-Tell me mum about our little Christ, why did our Holy Mary put Him in a manger where the animals were eating hay?
Mum Sophia held her little angel in her arms and after giving her a sweet kiss said:
-When elder Joseph with our Holy Mary, my baby, went into the cave, they had to find a way to get warm, because it was very cold outside and there was nothing else in there except some animals and their hay.
Meanwhile, it was time for our Holy Mary to give birth and apart from a few clothes they had brought with them, they had nothing else to keep warm. That’s why our little Holy Mary gathered plenty of hay around Her and with the thick overcoat that Her elder patron Joseph gave Her, she tried to get warm.
-Wow my mummy! How I wish I was there to give her my warmest blanket to cover her!
Sophia as a mother knew how a woman suffers in childbirth. Therefore, while she was telling her little girl about the Holy Mary’s preparation for birth, she secretly lived all this process in her heart.
Her soul was in pain for what her sweet Queen, Mary, suffered alone in the small cave, to give birth to Her only Son.
How she would have liked to be beside Her at that very moment helping Her in childbirth! Mum Sophia’s heart was beating fast from anxiety and she had tears in her eyes.
Her motherly heart wanted that very moment to embrace the little sixteen year old girl, Mary, like her own daughter and help Her.
A motherly tear ran down her cheek and dropped on little Angela’s face, who was held in her warm embrace, listening carefully to whatever her mother said. For a few minutes an emotional silence prevailed, until mum Sophia found the strength to continue her story.
Around the manger
-The time for the Son of God to be born as a man, had come, my Angela. In heaven, the angels celebrated with hymns of praise. On earth, the shepherds went quickly to see Him, who came to save the world from sins. The cave of the infant Christ was full of the angels’ hymns and the joyful childish voices of the young shepherds. His mummy, after swaddling Him with the clothes She had with Her, she put Him in the manger with the hay, covered Him with Her warm overcoat to prevent Her little treasure getting cold. The animals, as if they understood that little Christ was cold, came near Him and started warming Him with their breath.
-What did the children do, mummy?
-They were around the manger looking at our little Christ who was smiling at them.
-Mummy, if I were there, would our Holy Mary let me hug Him?
-Of course, my little girl, that’s the reason why little Christ came to earth so we could love Him with all our heart and become His own family. God our Father wanted us to love His Son, as our God and also as our own person. That’s why we call our Christ God-man; that is, He is a perfect God and a perfect man. As God He will save us from our mistakes and sins and as a man He will be everything for each one of us.
-Can He be, mum, my own brother too?
-If you want it with all your heart, He will be very glad for you to be little siblings.
-I want it so much, my mummy!
-But will you love Him with all the power of your heart?
-Yes, my mummy! I will love Him so much, like our little Joseph, and I will be the happiest child in the world! Mum, can I call Him brother?
-Of course, my treasure, if you want to, He will be your best friend and brother. He is the only one who will love you so much, even more than me and your dad. He will never abandon you and He will always bless you a lot throughout your whole life.
-Mummy, how do you love Him?
-I love and adore Him, as I do you, our Christina and little Joseph.
-Do you love Him like your Son, mum?
-Yes, my sweet love. I love and adore Him, as His sweet mother Mary did. He is the only treasure of my soul, the sweet love of my heart, the bright sun of my life, the joy of my existence.
While mum Sophia was saying all those sweet words of love about the little newborn Jesus, so her motherly heart was beating sweetly for Him. Since she was little child her mum had taught her to adore Him like a God-man, as the most beloved person of her life and to have His holy mother as her example.
When she was little girl, she loved Him like her little brother, but when she grew up and became a mother, she felt that little Jesus of Bethlehem was like her own baby. Whenever she thought about Him, her eyes filled with tears from motherly love.
Little Jesus of Bethlehem was the Son of her heart whom she embraced with so much love in her motherly breast. But when she as a human had some worries, then she was running like a little girl to hide and rest herself in His fatherly arms.
Sophia had believed what Christ said once to His beloved disciples:
“Whoever loves God my Father and keeps His commandments, he is my mother and my brother." (Matthew. 12, 49-50)
So she loved her sweet Jesus as her God, as well as her son, since Christ was also a man. All those things that she was taught by her holy mother, she wanted now to teach them to her children.
-Mum, what did little Christ call our Holy Mary?
-As you also call me "mummy."
-And what did our Holy Mary call Him?
-As I call our Joseph, "my Son".
-Mum, you love Him now like your own baby, but do you call Him what our Holy Mary did?
-Yes, my little girl, I call Him like she did; my God and my prince. This is, my little girl, the sweetest divine love that exists on earth. When you love our little Christ, you love our God. You love our creator God. Through the love in our Christ, all the people find the true way to return into the arms of God our Father, from where we left after the original sin.
-But we must trust, love and obey God's will, isn’t that right, my mummy?
-Yes, my Angela, when we lost these three things, we lost Paradise and the Holy Spirit as well. Now, with those three things and guided by the sacrifice of our sweet Jesus, we will be able to regain the Holy Spirit and enter, not only into the arms of our good God, but into the depths of His divine heart.
-Mummy, how much I want to be continually in the heart of our good God the Father!
-He also wants so much to enclose us in His heart but He wishes, at the same time, to be closed in our heart, through the love we will give to His only-begotten Son.
-How can this happen, mummy?
-This can happen through Holy Communion, my little girl. Every time we receive Holy Communion, we become one with our God. Then our soul, as a drop of rain, falls into an infinite ocean of His divine Love and becomes one with it. But to do this, we must first beg our good God to flood us with His Holy Spirit.
Man can succeed in all these things because God sent His only begotten Son to become a man, to live among us, to suffer for our sake and be resurrected so that we will be able to become one with Him through Holy Communion.
-Now I understand, my mummy, why the Son of God came from heaven to be born in Bethlehem and become a man like us! How much I love Him mum! I thank our good God very much that you are my mum!
However, the time had passed and our little Angela started feeling sleepy. Her mother kissed her once more sweetly on her forehead and told her that she had to go to sleep.
-Good night my sweet girl!-Good night mummy! Goodnight my little Christ! You are my sweet brother and I love You very much, like Christina and my Joseph!