Epistle Article, December 22, 2013

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place this way.  When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit…an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:18-21)


As we approach Christmas, this most mysterious and emotionally satisfying season of the Christian year, the strangeness of it all strikes me once again.  With wonder I read about the angel’s announcement to Joseph in a dream, how an infant will be born through the Holy Spirit.  I have questions about Joseph’s thoughts when he is told that this child will save the people from their sins.  Yet, like most of us I find myself drawn near this mystery of faith and the message of the Messiah with childlike wonder and anticipation.  I pray that none of us forgets the joy we had as children when Christmas approached.  Recall how it excited us.  Reread the Gospel accounts of John, Mary, Joseph, and the others because their stories awaken something in us.  Their experiences create in us a longing for the hope this baby born in a manger brings.  Christmas helps me imagine the advent of a better world.  I pray that you too dream divine dreams that help you envision a peace that passes all our human understanding.  When we reflect upon all God have done for us, it humbles us before our creator.  May we be those who thank God for the gift of salvation through the birth of this Christ child.  May we be those who pledge ourselves to God by living lives worthy of the Gospel’s promise.

I trust that you will have a Merry Christmas,