Dear Sisters and Brothers,
By God’s good grace and favor, we have come to another Christmas feast. I hope that this day and the whole Christmas season will be a time of rich blessings for you and for all of your loved ones. And, I pray that you will experience deep in your heart the peace that only Christ can give.
I hope, too, that during this busy season you will have time to take to your heart the gift the Christ is to us. He brings peace, reconciliation and renewed hope. He is a living reminder of the gift of our humanity, and of the dignity of every human person. And his peace is pledge that the violence, exploitation and disregard for life that surrounds us will not prevail.
Christ the Lord embraces us even in our sinfulness. The more we appreciate that reality, the more we will be open to others who seek peace, and the more inclined we will be to embrace them in our prayer and raise them up to God.
I think of all involved in the conflict in Iraq, those caught up in the volatile tensions of that part of the world. I think of children who are starving, of women who are exploited, of people who, no matter how hard they work, cannot make ends meet.
And then there is the quiet suffering that is a part of the daily lives of people like you and me. All of this suffering ‚Äì the severe and the ordinary, the known and unknown ‚Äì is embraced by Christ whose only desire is that we should know his joy, and that our joy might be complete.
As we celebrate Christmas, I hope that we will all come closer to Christ in the kind of intimate friendship that settles hearts, heals wounds and opens us in compassion to our sisters and brothers in need.
I ask for your prayers, and promise you mine, that all of us will know the grace of that friendship that will come to rest deep within all of us.
Peace to all.