Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The reality of the “good news” proclaimed that first Christmas night by an angel of the Lord to a group of shepherds watching over their flocks in the fields outside Bethlehem some two thousand years ago continues to be “good news” for us today – even though there are many in the world who don’t believe it and are doing their best to distort or silence the Christmas message and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It was on that first Christmas, in a small stable in Bethlehem, that God, through a young virgin named Mary, gave the world the first and greatest Christmas present of all time – His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that in the midst of all our Christmas celebrations and traditions, and the giving and receiving of gifts, Christ – the “First and Greatest Gift” – remains at the center of all that we do. It is not in the things of this world (as good as they may be) that true love, peace, joy, and hope can be found, but only in Jesus.
May our hearts and minds be open to hear and believe the above message from the Angel of the Lord, so much so that we can’t help but join in the heavenly hosts, singing with all our might: “Glory to God in the highest!” I pray that like the shepherds of old, each of us will go to the Lord to discover for ourselves the truth of what we have been told and then go out into the world, boldly proclaiming the truth and reality of what we have experienced in God’s grace; sharing the love and Good News of Jesus Christ with others. Our faith in Jesus Christ is not a gift to be hidden away, but to be shared. There is no greater gift you or I can share with others this Christmas than the gift of God’s love and our faith in Jesus Christ.
I pray you and your loved ones have a very blessed and Merry Christmas as you share our Lord Jesus Christ with others.
In Christ’s Love,
The Rt. Rev. William H. Love
Ninth Bishop of Albany