Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Welcome to the Bishop’s Blog for Christmas!
The feast of Christmas is always one of hope and joy for us Catholics and Christians. Each year we greet with the reverence of faith the child born of Mary in the lowly surroundings of that stable in Bethlehem, for we know that he is no ordinary child. Our faith teaches us that this newly-born infant has already had another birth, that of the Son of God in eternity. Our Christmas liturgy and the carols we sing try to capture the astounding truth that in this child God has come down to earth.
Christmas is therefore a celebration of God’s love for the world. In him whom St. John splendidly calls “the Word made flesh”, God has shown his solidarity with us. God’s Word has taken on human form, sharing our history, and enriching our lives beyond measure. For the journey of a human life is also a journey travelled by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Our tears and our challenges have also been his, and the little child whom we venerate in the manger would have his challenges and know the dark night of death, only to transform it for ever in his glorious resurrection from the dead.
As we look with wonder on Mary and her new-born Son in the crib, ever such an appealing image, we cannot but think of those mothers and their children in many parts of our world who are displaced from their homes through disaster, war, discrimination or the like. We remember them all prayerfully especially at this holy season, asking God’s mercy and protection on them, while doing what we can to ease their plight.
The birth of Jesus Christ has given humanity a whole new dignity. Each individual can justly claim the Son of God as his or her brother. As the New Testament expresses it, “He is the firstborn of many brethren.” This infant embodies an unshakeable hope for all of us, because in the fullness of time through the example of his ministry and teaching he would accept and share death to redeem us all, and open the vision of eternal life through his resurrection and return to his heavenly Father. And our hope is that, like his, our journey will end by joining him in the glory of heaven.
A blessed and hope-filled Christmas to you all!
As ever in Christ our Lord,
+Michael G Campbell OSA
Bishop of Lancaster
P.S. I am pictured above with my predecessor, as Bishop of Lancaster, Emeritus Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue whom I visited last week in Co. Cork, Ireland.
N.B. The Bishop’s Blog takes a break now for the holiday period.