Merry Christmas to all of you! I pray that Christ’s love, that burst into the world through a newborn baby so many years ago, enters into your hearts this Christmas season.
It goes without saying that the pandemic has affected all of our plans this year, and, unfortunately, Christmas is no different. But not everything has to be the same as it always was in order to enjoy the depth of what happened on Christmas night, when Jesus was born. Pope Francis has said, “Look with hope to the future, trusting in the closeness of God who never abandons us.” Jesus’ birth is a sign of hope, a reminder that God is near and will never abandon us.
Hope is a tremendous gift. If we keep our eyes focused on the difficulties, the negative things around us, pretty soon we can lose our way and we start to drown. But as followers of the Lord, our lives should not be like that. We have a choice, as it says in the book of Deuteronomy: “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life, that you and your family may live.”
One of the best encouragements we can give to one another is to point to our reasons for hope. Take some time this Christmas season to reflect on your reasons for hope. Let the grace of the Holy Spirit flow into your mind and heart, and then share your reasons with others. This, friends, is a way to build up each other and build the church.
I pray that each of you will be blessed with God’s love this Christmas season. May the hope of Jesus’ birth bring you comfort and peace!
Follow Bishop Ricken on Twitter, @BpDavidRicken.