My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
A Blessed and Joyous Christmastide to you all!
This year, we once again await the coming of the Christ child. It is a time of hope, a particular moment when we are touched most deeply by the vast love and humility of the God of our creation. Wonder fills our hearts as we approach the manger in Bethlehem. We see there a child who has come to save us, to fight and die for us, to live eternally in our hearts and minds that we might truly live. It is a miracle beyond all human imagining. But the truth of this moment cannot be denied. It is, simply, the truth of God. Always with us, God now comes to us in human form. Emmanuel is here.
We may wonder about the world in which He chose to be born. There is little that surprises; the world, filled with much that we love, is still a difficult and dangerous place. We have seen it at work. Perhaps we wonder: how could God choose to live here? We do remember, though, that this is God's world, a gift given to us. Although we have much to be thankful for this year, there are many who are suffering, many who grieve, many who are lost spiritually. It is a broken world in which we live, one that needs desperately to be drawn again to the saving grace of God's love.
As we prepare for Christmas, we are reminded that Jesus was not born into an emperor's palace, where he might have worn purple robes; rather, he came to us in the most humble of circumstances, dressed in clothes that might well have served as burial garments. He came to us as a tiny child, frail and vulnerable, needing the love and care of a world that was all but indifferent to his presence. There was no room for him in the usual lodging places of this world; He was born homeless that He might lead us to our one true home.
There is a certain neglected corner of a vanished empire where a new life comes to us. A tiny heart begins to beat. As we listen to the rhythmic cadence of God's heart, come to us now in the presence of this child, Emmanuel, we may begin to know in our own hearts the miraculous event that has come to us this Christmas Day.
Your Brother in Christ,