A Message from the Bishop – Christmas is God’s love

A Message from the Bishop – Christmas is God’s love

“Today has been born for you a Savior who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

This is the announcement of the birth of Jesus made by the angel to the shepherds, who were pasturing their flocks in Bethlehem, when Jesus was born of the flesh of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is the Good News. We are the “you” to whom it is directed through the shepherds. The magnificent choral oratorio composed by Handel, “Messiah,” gets the intent of the angelic message when it sings, “For unto us a child is born; unto us a Son is given.” Jesus, the Son of God, Savior, Christ and Lord, is born for us. This interruption of God on our behalf into the course of human events which we remember and celebrate at Christmas is also about us to whom God has given His Divine Son to be our Savior, Christ and Lord.

During this Christmas season, let us welcome Him into our lives for we need a Savior to save us from our sins which hinder us from becoming more like Him. Let Christ anoint us with His love which soothes the difficulties, sadness and struggles we all face. Let us call on Him who is our Lord. Prayer, be it personal, or in the family, or at Sunday Mass, is directed to Our Lord who hears us when we say, “Lord, Lord.” The Nativity story offers us hope, not just during the Christmas season, but all year long. Its grace is available to all who accept it. May you experience this during these holydays.

As we move from the anticipation of Advent into the joyful celebration of Christmas, our thoughts turn to the birth of Jesus, truly God and truly human, and to His Mother Mary and Joseph, her husband. Though chosen by God for an extraordinary purpose, Mary and Joseph were truly human and just as susceptible to anxiety and fear as any of us. More than 2,000 years later, they remain an inspiring example for all.

They were a couple of minimal means and without a home at the time of Jesus’ birth. Traveling a distance into unknown territory, expecting a baby at any time, their faith in God was their greatest strength and comfort. Their humanity is striking and there are so many parallels to their situation in our world today.

How often are we afraid of what is to come? Forced to keep moving when perhaps our first response is paralyzing fear? Like Mary and Joseph, we too have been touched by God. Through faith in God we can find the strength and comfort they found. By embracing Jesus Christ as they did we too can overcome whatever fears may threaten us. The Nativity story is one of triumph for a new family.

How many families today find themselves in similar situations to the Holy Family of Bethlehem, such as families forced out of housing for economic reasons or refugee families seeking safe and peaceful shelter? Can we imagine how unsurmountable their circumstances must be? Let us consider Mary and Joseph in the stable, calm and peaceful with their infant son lying in a straw-filled trough in which animals fed. Here in human flesh is the Savior, Christ our Lord, given to us by the Father.

I wish all a blessed Christmas. Christmas is God’s love, pure and simple. The Good News is that God’s love is given today to you to know and to experience. May Christ, the Savior, our Lord and God, be with you and yours at every moment in the New Year 2017.

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