“All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,’ which means ‘God is with us.’” (Matthew 1:22-23).
Dear Friends in Christ,
Christmas is a special time which touches our hearts in real and deep ways. It conjures up images of family, hearth, and home, and we know that it is natural to want to be “home for the holidays.” People will travel great distances to be with the ones they love, eager to share together the joy of this season.
It is ironic therefore to think that, at that first Christmas, Mary and Joseph were far from home, away from family, having to rely on the kindness of strangers while bunking down in a stable. Despite all these challenges, they welcomed the baby Jesus with joy, knowing that he was God’s gift not only to them, but to the entire world. That stable may have been messy and noisy, but it was a place filled with love, faith, and thanksgiving. And it was a moment that would forever speak of God’s love, compassion and faithfulness toward each of his beloved children.
Wherever we find ourselves this Christmas – at home or far from it – we are called to make a place for the Lord Jesus, whose humble birth we celebrate. He is truly Emmanuel, God with us, who comes to us in our joys and sorrows, our triumphs and trials, our celebrations and our sadness. Let the Lord find a home in your hearts this Christmas: be assured of God’s constant love for you and let that grace inspire you to gladden the hearts of others.
May you enjoy a Merry Christmas Day and Season.
Yours in Christ,
+ Most Reverend Daniel Miehm - Bishop of Peterborough