Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The beautiful and familiar Christmas scene of Mary and Joseph kneeling around a baby in a manger produces a special longing in us for the peace and harmony that the scene in Bethlehem creates.
How we long for that peace. In our world today, however, that peace is so difficult to find. Instead we view a world of war, of corruption, of terror, of scandals, of abject poverty.
Yet, if we claim to be disciples of the One born in a stable, who grew into the man we call the Messiah, “to whom shall we go?” We can go nowhere and to no one except to Bethlehem and the One who alone can give us the Peace the world cannot give.
We can and should do more than simply give in to the evil so much of our human society embraces. We can add our love and our commitment for change to the horrors of violence, distrust, abuse, neglect and human manipulation. We can, in many ways, help create a better world — a world where all human life is respected “from womb to tomb” — and where we respect the wonderful gifts of our environment given to us by God.
This season ideally should inspire us to go out of ourselves and to “put on hold” the temptations to despair that we face every day. Through this inspiration, let us resolve as we prepare to celebrate a new year that we will see it as a time of grace — a time of opportunity to do all we can to further progress toward the realization of the Kingdom of God in our midst.
We are able to affect change. We can make a difference. May the celebration of Christmas this year energize us and animate us to do our part to overcome the evils of our current society.
May the blessings of the Christ child be yours in abundance this Christmas and throughout 2019.
In the Lord’s Peace,
Most Rev. Robert E. Guglielmone, Bishop of Charleston
Image: Nativity; Jean-Baptiste Marie Pierre, second half of 18th century