Dear Friends in Christ,
Welcome to the Bishop’s Blog as we enter into the Feast of Christmas!
Christmas time and the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, is a welcome festival of light during these dark winter days of late December. For Christians the birth of this child is no ordinary birth, but marks the coming of the long-awaited Messiah, whom we believe to be both the Son of God as well as the Son of the Virgin Mary.
The nativity plays, so popular with school children and parents, always succeed in capturing the attractiveness and appealing simplicity of that scene in Bethlehem. The child enters our world in the surroundings of a manger, because no better accommodation was available to Mary and Joseph. The new-born child’s first visitors were humble shepherds on night duty with their flocks, having been alerted to the arrival of a child who would bring God’s peace from heaven to earth.
Christmas is a time when families normally feel the need to be together, to celebrate the feast with those closest to them. Ideally, Christmas should unite and strengthen family ties. We know that this is not always the case, but the example of that special family of Nazareth can inspire us to meet together the challenges which our families often face.
The expectant Mary and Joseph her spouse found themselves in circumstances not of their own making, and had to cope as best they could as Mary’s time drew near. What sustained them would be their faith in one another, and in God’s unfailing providence. They looked to heaven for support and the courage to carry on.
Shortly after the birth of Christ, we are told, the family was forced to flee from the jealous and murderous King Herod who had evil designs on the child. They left quickly in the night and became refugees in the land of Egypt, where they were destined to remain for some time until the death of the tyrant.
Our television screens and media in general have beamed graphic images of fleeing refugees in the twenty-first century.
Christmas and the story of the family of Jesus should sensitize us to the plight of these poor brothers and sisters of ours. We do what we can to help them materially, but let us also commend them to our God and Father that he protect them as he did the family of his own Son.
Christmas blessings and peace to everyone!
+Michael G Campbell OSA
Bishop of Lancaster