Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Merry Christmas! I never get tired of that greeting. Although as we get older, it seems like Christmas comes around more often, and it’s hard to believe another year has passed. Saint Peter writes, “…with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day.” (2 Peter 3:8). By that description, Jesus Christ was born just two days ago! We imagine that we can still hear the newborn Jesus cry and feel the warmth of holding Him. It’s a perfect time to ask ourselves if we have that sense of excitement at Jesus’s presence. Are we praying and going to Mass and genuinely seeking Him? Or does our faith feel more like it has gathered some dust and that Christmas is spiritually flat like we are going through the motions in a familiar routine?
I encourage all of us this Christmas to beg Jesus to make our faith more alive, more young, fresh, and vibrant. Ask Him to give us the gift of God’s perspective – that Jesus was born for us just two days ago. Ask to be revitalized by the warmth of His love. He’s a real person, and He truly is with us!
Jesus’ two natures, human and divine, are indeed fully present in Him. At Christmas, we celebrate that, in order to truly be with us, He took on everything human but sin. Christ loves us so profoundly that He came to us as a vulnerable and precious baby, experienced all that we live through, and then took our humanity with Him to heaven. Today, He is personally with us through the sacraments, the very life of the Church. This Christmas, Jesus wants to have a personal encounter with us at Christmas Mass, the Christ Mass, where He is the celebrant.
Let’s pray for God’s Grace to receive his ever-present love for us. Let us approach Jesus’ true presence at the Christ Mass this year with fresh spirits, and may our personal encounter with Him invigorate our souls.
In Christ, I am
Bishop Austin A. Vetter