The birth of Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s promise to King David to establish a kingdom that would have no end. Jesus, the Son of God, comes to heal the wounds of sin and division, to cast down the mighty from their thrones, and to lift up the lowly.
Just as Jesus came into an imperfect world, he still enters the imperfection of our time and of our lives. This gives hope to us, who do not live perfect lives, who live in a world that knows too much division, indifference and violence.
During the seasons of Advent and Christmas, we open our lives to Jesus. We acknowledge our need for a Savior. We humbly ask the Blessed Mother to give Jesus to us.
The readings in the final days of Advent recall the events that led up to the birth of Jesus. In the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, we discover the grand design of God, who longs to capture our attention, our imaginations, our hearts and our lives — in short, our love.
In these Gospel accounts, there is a great interaction between heaven and earth. The angels, God’s messengers, speak — to Joseph and Mary, to Zechariah, to shepherds and wise men. In the response to these divine encounters, Zechariah and Mary proclaim beautiful hymns of praise that are still recited by the Church each day. The angels sing glory and praise to the newborn Son of God. These hymns speak on behalf of all the earth and its inhabitants as our response to the mysterious and wonderful ways God still speaks to us today.
As the lives of Mary and Joseph, Zechariah and Elizabeth, the shepherds and wise men were redirected by their encounters with God and his messengers, so God is asking us to recognize his presence in the birth of his Son and to redirect our lives through conversion.
Every eucharistic celebration, every Nativity scene seeks to capture the significance of Christmas night, calling forth from the world’s inhabitants a humble adoration of this newborn King. We are invited to open our hearts, our lives, our arms to a hopeful reception of Christ, to discover our own dignity and the dignity of every other person.
It is in Christ that heaven and earth are united, divinity takes on human flesh, light dawns amid our darkness, salvation subverts the power of sin, hope displaces despair, eyes are lifted and hearts are raised, lethargic lives are renewed with a sense of purpose, our covenant with God is made new and everlasting, and union with God and neighbor becomes possible.
This Christmas, I ask our dear Lord to visit you and your family with a renewed sense of his presence, warmth and love. I pray that each of you be given the grace to embrace him on a deeper, personal level.
I ask through our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph that each of you be able to humbly and generously cooperate with the desire and plan of God for your life.
Please know of my nearness and love, but most especially of God’s love for each of you in Jesus Christ.
Peace, and merry Christmas!
Northwest Catholic - December 2020
Archbishop Paul D. Etienne was named Archbishop of Seattle on September 3, 2019 by Pope Francis. Read his blog at https://www.archbishopetienne.com/.
El Arzobispo Paul D. Etienne fue nombrado Arzobispo de Seattle el 3 de septiembre de 2019 por el Papa Francisco. Lea su blog en: https://www.archbishopetienne.com/.