This information was translated from the Greek by Mickey Hodges, a member of St. John Orthodox Church in Memphis, Tennessee, as a nativity gift to the parish. He has graciously allowed me to post it here, but retains the copyright to the translation himself. As far as we can determine, this is the only English translation of this homily available.


Homily 52 -- The Feast of the Nativity
St. Macarius

The Word of God searches for the work of truth. And so it is for a man to speak, to hear, and to do. For this reason one hears what is said, so that he might complete the work of obedience.

On this day the Lord was born, the life and the salvation of men. Today is born Him who reconciles divinity to humanity and humanity to divinity. Today all creation leaps for joy. Those from on high send for those below and those below for the ones above. Today is born the death of darkness and the life of man. Today is born the path towards God for men and the way of God into the soul.

Formerly the prophet said, "The paths of Zion mourn those who did not come into the feast." This emptiness of the soul and its disappearance are spoken of in riddles, for there was neither a path for God into the soul and the understanding of man nor could the soul walk to God.

Today the plains and all that are in them rejoice, for the earth of the soul receives the waters of heaven. The Lord reigns, he is clothed with majesty. Because earlier our lord and king Adam, being established, indeed through transgression he became the slave of sin. Today He rules over His enemies, "For it is necessary," it is said, "that he reign." Today He confirmed the order of things, the soul formerly empty and shaken and trembling, being held down in fear and in cowardice of sin, for in the curse, it is said, groaning and trembling would be upon the earth. For since the soul's house was built upon the sand, it was subject to tossing and turning. Today the house of the soul was built upon the unshaken rock of divinity.

Angels rejoice, heavens, stars, sun, moon, the earth and all that is in it, mountains and hills leap for joy. For if in the exodus from Egypt all creation rejoiced together with Israel, heaven seeing a cloud of light by day, a pillar of fire by night, the mountains like rams and the hills like flocks of sheep, how much more today at the birth of the true Christ. For before all creation cried, having been cast into corruption, since Adam, their king, fell. But he, being in the very image of God, the Lord came to renew just as it was necessary also to re-create.

The time of the condemnation of man has been fulfilled. The things which had been pronounced beforehand by the prophets have come to pass. Now He summons us from prison and exile, for the kingdom of heaven is near. The time of shackles and of jail and of the condemnation of Adam into darkness is complete. Today has become in Him redemption and freedom of reconciliation, and the sharing in the Spirit, and the linking together with God. Today the shamefulness of man's face was lifted up, and boldness was given to him with the unveiled face to look upon and to mingle with the Spirit. Today the bride receives her very own Bridegroom. Today has brought forth unity and fellowship and reconciliation of the heavenlies with earthly things, God and man.

For it was fitting for Him who put on the body to come and to turn and to reconcile men with His own Father. Coming unarmed, He received the weapon of man, which is th ebody, and through it He fought and slew death. Through a dead body the enemy was put to death. Through His own weapon He condemned sin in the body. As indeed the enemies who attack the city themselves with weapons and trickeries (this is true of the archers more than some others) hurry to knock down the walls, so also the enemy taking Adam into his hands, thus used a man's body as a weapon, and through it he controlled and imprisoned all men.

In a like manner the Lord took on the human weapon, and through it he cut loose and made vanish the walls and the fortresses of the wicked one and his every device and wicked concoction, with which he might make use against man. Just as it was said, "As was her darkness, so also was her light." "For just as in Adam all died, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."

For human nature formerly was dead to God, and fruitless. The soul was sterile and barren. Now it has received seed from heaven, in order that it might be enabled to grow fruits of the Spirit. Adam was one, and the woman was from him, and unless Adam had intercourse with his wife, she would not bear fruit. Even so, if the soul does not have intercourse and share with Christ, it is not possible to bear the fruits of the Spirit.

For the divine seed is the Word, the One who descended into Mary the Theotokos, He who descends into every believing soul, and thus they are born into the spiritual birth of salvation, just as it was said, "Through fear of you, Lord, we receive in our belly and we labor and we bear the spirit of salvation," and so the sould brings forth fruit to God. For the woman, it is said, when she labors, has pain. And when she gives birth, she rejoices, because a man was born into the world. And the soul receives the heavenly seed, and while it labors it has trouble, being tortured by frequent trials, and when it gives birth, that is when it comes to the end of this life, it rejoices clearly with unspeakable joy, because a heavenly and new man is born into the world above.

So just as He received the body, the Lord proceeds and sits down above at the right hand of the majesty in the highest, and now changes and will translate the believing souls and those deserving of God into His kingdom, giving birth to them above by his Spirit. This is just as the Lord said, "The one who believes in me will be transferred from death to life." For those who believe in truth and abide in the earth serve the Lord above in heaven, and He Himself seated above on the throne of His majesty sits down upon the souls of His saints as thrones. For they are parts of His body, all the assembly of the saints, and He Himself is the head of the church. for just as one soul is in all the body, and each part of the body is indwelled by the one soul, so all the saints live in the spirit of divinity and are indwelled by Him, and each part lives in the natural essence and in the divine soul.

And so as the body, through the hand or the foot or the eye, causes the man to be blamed, so also the soul apart from the heavenly soul and the divine spirit is incomplete and blameworthy, being unworthy of the kingdom. For if a man is not, it is said, born from above, he is not able to enter into the kingdom of God.

Think about it -- it takes two hands and two feet and two ears to make a complete man. And it takes two wings for a bird to fly, but with one wing it is impossible to fly. So also two covenants were given to men, and apart from the new the other one has no power. And every yoke, being two, is one, and so it is revealed as complete. The same is true for the Christian. for the Lord affirms that he has two souls, one having been created and one from heaven through the divine spirit. So he is able to be complete and useful in the kingdom of heaven, flying and growing lighter under the wings of the Spirit.

As heaven is called masculine and the earth feminine, so the heavenly bridegroom is Christ, and his bride is the mature and passionless soul. And the rain comes down from God above, and she herself as the beautiful earth receives it, and gives it back as the fruits of the Spirit. For as Eve apart from the lovemaking of Adam was sterile and barren, so also the soul, apart from the lovemaking of the Spirit and the penetration of Christ the heavenly bridegroom, is a widow and barren and sterile in the kingdom of heaven.

So indeed the heavenly Bridegroom, without the zeal of a man and his willingness, neither dwells in him nor mixes with him. for just as wine mixed wiht water is drinkable and sweet, so also the divine spark itself comes to penetrate humanity, in order that He might penetrate with His own Spirit those who will and believe, and so in sweetness and benevolence He transforms their calling. As wool dipped in purple becomes one, so also souls baptized completely in the Spirit take on a spiritual purple, as it is written, "The one who is born of the Spirit is spirit."

Likewise the body of Christ being mixed with divinity is God. As iron seen in the fire is fire, and no one is able to touch it or get near it, while it burns and is consumed, so that only the fire or coals of fire could bpssibly be left unharmed, thus every sould being purified through the fire of the Spirit, becoming both fire and Spirit, is then able to associate with the undefiled body of Christ. Other than through the Spirit, the uninitiated soul is unable to draw near, or to be reflected in that divine flash of light, and to live in it.

For each thing is there and lives there, where it is born. Those creatures which live in the water live there because they were born there. The flying creatures of heaven being made to fly in the air rest in it. Likewise also the journey of souls, and the air for those who have the wings of the Spirit is above in the height of divinity, for there they were born.

As indeed the charioteer holeing the reins directs the horses however he wishes, so also the Lord on high guides the creation in heaven and on earth as He determines. For He Himself is seated at the right hand of the majesty on high, and He Himself is the One who inhabits earthly things and descends and dwells with all His saints. He is above, and He is below. He is God, and He is man. He is the One who lives, and the One who died. He is the Lord of all, and He is the servant of all. He is the Lamb, and He is the sacrifice. He is the calf that was slain, and He is the High Priest who offers sacrifice. He is the One who suffered, and the passionless One. He is the Bridegroom and He is the Bride. He is the bridechamber, and He is the wedding bed. He is Paradise, and He is the tree of life. He is Jerusalem itself, and He is the temple and Holy of Holies. He is the sea, and He is the dry land. He is the Food of souls, and He is the one born in their salvation. He is the living Bread, and He is the Water of life. He is the true vine, and He is the wine of festivities. He is the pearl, and He is the treasure. He is the net, and He is the warrior. He is the weapon, and He is the Victor. He is the circumcision, and He is the sabbath and the law. He is the head of the assembly of saints, and He is the mustard seed. He is the Vinedresser, and He is the Plow. He is grace, and He is peace. He is the wedding, and He is the wedding gown. He is the road, and He is the door. He is the Sun of righteousness, and He is the Light of souls. He is the Life, and He is the Kingdom. He is the beginning, and He is the end. He is beyond all things, and He is the One who is all in all.

This is the holy and divine Babe born to us on this day, the salvation and life of our souls. Glory be to His greatness. Glory be to His love formankind. Glory be to His incomparable foresight for our race.

Let us therefore both implore and believe, that indeed we finding Him should enjoy Him, we who have received from Him so many good things, but the will of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, unto the ages. Amen.


© 1996, translation by Mickey R. Hodges. Used by permission.

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