Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (Jn. 3:16) That one verse, frequently cited, resonates so strongly in our hearts this year. In a year marked by so many challenges, it is more important than ever that we pause this Christmas to recognize the grace of God’s eternal love for us and our call to believe. To deepen our faith in God who, through the Incarnation, looks us in the eye personally with a love beyond all telling. To deepen our hope in God who does not leave us alone and isolated, but rather speaks to us a word calling us to conversion, holiness, and communion. To deepen our love in God by whose cross and resurrection our own charity is prompted to grow.
The pandemic we are experiencing individually and as a community can unfortunately bring a wide range of challenges. From feelings of isolation to disillusionment, a pandemic can erode our faith, hope and love, and also pull our gaze away from the many graces God continues to bestow upon us. Yet, in the Advent and Christmas seasons we are reminded that God’s response is direct and personal. It’s real. We marvel today at the mystery through which the eternal God freely and lovingly shares our nature in order to carry the burden of our sin and save us.
As we continue our journey of faith and prepare to celebrate Christmas this year, we are reminded just how close the eternal God is to us. We are never alone; we do not walk the journey of faith in isolation. Our hearts can truly rejoice with the knowledge that God breaks through all barriers to embrace us, to bestow grace upon us, to lift us up, so that through conversion and prayer, we may rejoice with renewed hearts and minds.
As we celebrate Christmas this year, be assured of my prayers for each of you, and let us continue to pray for one another with a deep sense of gratitude for the blessings in our lives. Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!
Sincerely in Christ,
Msgr. Todd J. Lajiness