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What Christmas means: God is with us!

By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

Dec. 25, 2013

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

“Emmanuel” – GOD IS WITH US!              
That is the meaning of Christmas.  That is the reason for the Season and what an awesome, earth-shattering reason it is! 

For centuries, gifted artists have created beautiful manger scenes of the newborn Savior.  They proclaim to all, that one simple message:  God is with us. 

Can there be a more hope-filled, reassuring message?  God accompanies us throughout our life journey, wherever we find ourselves.  The joy of Christmas is the realization of God’s abiding Presence, in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Every Christmas heightens our awareness that when God took on human flesh, He made all human flesh holy.  Our attitude towards every person, no matter how different from ourselves, should reflect respect for such sacredness that dwells among us.

For instance, that means we don’t forget the families that are homeless and feel hopeless, especially as a result of poverty, natural disasters and terrorism. 

That means we don’t forget the victims of human trafficking, religious persecution and those who suffer from substance abuse. 

That means we remember those who suffer from chronic disease and physical, emotional and psychological distress. 

We remember those who continue to die from abortion, starvation and neglect. 

We keep in mind and heart those who are imprisoned and those that don’t know the love and support of a family.

Without judging, not only do we not forget, we accept, pray for and reach out to every person with the Christmas message:  God is with us -- Yes, particularly to those who are hurting.   

Our Christmas liturgy rings out with joy to all.  We sing carols and the Gloria makes its triumphal return.  We make our own the song of the angels who appeared to the shepherds on the night of Christ’s birth, Glory to God in the highest!  

We give praise because God has come as One among us to save us all.  We are God’s own and for that we give endless praise.

This Christmas, may the Christ Child, Emmanuel, come to you and your loved ones, bringing the Gift of Love, the Blessing of Hope and the Promise of Peace.  A blessed Christmas and joy-filled New Year!

Faithfully yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Terry R. LaValley
Bishop of Ogdensburg

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