Presiding Bishop's Christmas Message
Let us Pray: O God, who makest us glad with the yearly remembrance of the birth of thine only Son Jesus Christ; Grant that as we joyfully receive him for our redeemer, so we may with sure confidence behold him when he shall come to be our judge, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Once again, we find ourselves on our way to Bethlehem. Why, after all the theology is said and done, after all the seasonal thoughts and feelings pass through our conscious selves, do we make the journey to that lonely corner of a vanished empire?
It has everything to do with the great mystery God sets before us. He enters our lives so silently and unobtrusively, without great fanfare or spectacle. His was such a quiet entrance that no one, it appears, took any notice. Nothing of particular note seems to have happened on that very ordinary morning in that little town called Bethlehem. And yet, that was the precise manner in which God chose to come among us.
There was no welcome for Jesus; there was no outpouring of thanks for the one who had created the world. But all the world's joys and cares seemed to matter little to the God among us. Jesus knew that world – our world. He knew the world better than we ever will. And he chose to be among us, to live with us, to share all of human life with us. He came to the only place left for him. And it was enough.
We are drawn to Bethlehem each year at Christmas. Our minds seek to understand a mystery that seems so impossible to grasp. We may look at the manger scenes we see around us, those simple recreations of that first Christmas morning: little tableaux, a window onto the divine.
At Christmas, Jesus comes to us in the one place that is left to him in all the world, the one place he knows he will find a home, the one place he will meet us where we are most human and most like the God that created us. It is in that place, the Bethlehem of the spirit, that he finds his home with us. It is the place in our own hearts where he may truly live and grow. We open our hearts to him at Christmastide. And it is enough. It is always enough.
“O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in,
Be born in us today.”
Your Brother in Christ,