Avedis Tabaşyan: “May the Lord born in our hearts!”
The Christmas mass was celebrated in Iskenderun Karasun Manuk Armenian Church on January 5th, 2018 Friday evening. The celebration was led by the parish priest Father Avedis Tabaşyan.
Armenian Orthodox faithful celebrate every year the Christmas on January 6th together with the feast of the baptism of Christ. The mass held at the Karasun Manuk Armenian Apostolic Church in Iskenderun district of Antioch hosted many civilian and religious authorities such as CHP Hatay deputy candidate Nermin Yıldırım Kara, her husband Sezer Kara and Christians belonging to the other churches of the city.
During his sermon Fr. Tabaşyan said: “The Lord may change the heart of each one of us, may he want to make us apostles of peace. May the Lord make us experience this new year by working for the peace. We are celebrating this feast for years, but what is its importance for us? Every year on the date of January 5th and 6th the Armenian churches all around the world celebrate the Birth of the Lord and his Baptism. When Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist, a pigeon descended from the Heaven and a voice is heard saying: ‘He is my son, listen to him.’ Yes, during his baptism this voice is heard and a shining star was seen in Jesus’ birth. Jesus Christ was born with big problems.”
Whoever hope in the Lord will not suffer
Father Tabaşyan who emphasized the importance of obeying God’s will, said: “When God created the mankind, He gave them wisdom and strength. God created the mankind at the end of all the creation work and appointed them as his representation. He said, ‘The key of the world belongs to you, and all creatures will serve you, and you will be my favorite.’ But mankind did not look satisfied unfortunately. They wanted more, because there was a demon who was fired and asked God to serve him only itself, and only it wanted share God’s love. The name of that angel was Musiforos (Lucifer). It means a shining angel! And then it became the devil. It wanted to get all the wisdom from God, to use it for his own; but God said, I do not want to give you that creature. You’re my servant too. I do not want to be a servant, but I want to share all my love with them. The devil said, I will make you enemies with what you have created. It said to them a single word, ‘You will be like God…’ These words were heard many years ago, and Adam and Eve have eaten the forbidden fruit hoping of being like God, and those words that seem to us like a story have actually begun to cause sinful bodies.
God asked, “I am the One who created you, I am the One who shaped you, and why are you away from me?” We ask God many things every new year, but do we have what we have to give to God? God wants only our heart, and he wants that we serve him. He wants us to be modest like him. Whoever hope in the Lord will never suffer. God does not make distinction, we are the ones who make it. The meaning of the Christmas is the Birth of Christ. But where? May He born in our hearts. If we don’t have his light, we are nothing. May the Lord illuminate you with his light of the Lord.”
At the end of the mass, the baptism of Jesus Christ was remembered with a crucifix washing ritual. Then the members of the congregation who kissed the cross one by one went to the church hall and cut the Christmas cake and celebrated their festivities.
In the church hall, bread, salt and water were blessed with hymns and distributed to the congregation. Like every year, also this year Santa Claus gave gifts to the small children after the ceremony.