A Christmas Message from
Bishop Martin De Porres Griffin
American Catholic Church Diocese of California
A Most Merry and Blessed Christmas be yours!
As we celebrate this blessed solemnity of Christmas, I ask us to reflect on or preparation for this celebration and our celebration on the day of Christmas. Have our pre-Christmas planning and celebrations added to the glory of God? Was Christ honored by all our hustle and bustle that has surrounded Christmas? If we cannot honestly say, it has all been about Christ, then we have to refocus. So this Christmas, let’s refocus our attention on where it belongs… on the birth of Christ… the incarnate God. And let the tinsel fall where it may.
The God, so awesome that the ancient Hebrews would not even whisper his name, is suddenly among us. Emanuel has come… and he is so much more than anyone could have expected. To save us… to shake us of our self-indulgence… to atone for every sin that ever was or will be… the love of God was made flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. And through him we are reconciled with God. We have a unique window into his purpose… an open channel for his love… and a perfect model of holiness to guide us in all things.
Even before the Jesus could speak, the circumstance of his birth was his first sermon to us. Laid in a manger, surrounded by shepherds, God is telling us that his New Covenant will not be based on power and hierarchy. It will be based on service and sacrifice. The new paradigm will be love and humility, rather than micro-management of human behavior.
In this context, our challenge is not to keep Christ in Christmas. He is not a seasonal ornament that we want included along with all the others. Christ is not “in” Christmas. Christ is Christmas. And his Nativity is integral to who he is. In the person of Jesus, God became like us, so that we could become more like him. Christmas is not an end in itself. It is a beginning… an initial event in the continuum of our redemption.
With all that said, nothing is bigger than the heart of Jesus. He wants us to be happy. So let us deck the halls. Let us trim the tree. Let us hang the stockings. Let us sing “White Christmas” right along with the carols. But first last and always… let us remember the reason for the season… the joy of Christmas is in the miracle, not in the material… it is in the mystery, not in the myths. The love of God is alive and among us… so that every year we can celebrate anew… Jesus Christ is born today.
Be blessed and remember who and what we celebrate!
In Jesus Christ Our Emmanuel,
+Martín de Porres
The Most Reverend Martin de Porres Griffin