Published December 17, 2023 | En Español
Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., offers his Christmas message:
“The year was 1223 and St. Francis of Assisi invited the people of a small Italian village called Greccio to reenact the events of the first Christmas. Complete with animals and a manger lined with hay, with candles and torches, Francis proclaimed the Christmas Gospel, and the image of the Christ child came to life. Since that time, the Christmas crèche has been the focal point of this holy season.
In his Apostolic Letter Admirabile Signum (On the Meaning and Importance of the Nativity Scene), Pope Francis wrote:
‘The enchanting image of the Christmas crèche, so dear to the Christian people, never ceases to arouse amazement and wonder. The depiction of Jesus’ birth is itself a simple and joyful proclamation of the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God. The nativity scene is like a living Gospel rising up from the pages of sacred Scripture. As we contemplate the Christmas story, we are invited to set out on a spiritual journey, drawn by the humility of the God who became man in order to encounter every man and woman. We come to realize that so great is his love for us that he became one of us, so that we in turn might become one with him.’
As we come before the crèche this Christmas, may we give thanks to God for the gift of his Son and may we experience anew, the depth of God’s love for each of us.
On behalf of Bishop Bernard Shlesinger, Bishop Joel Konzen and Bishop John Tran, I wish you and your loved ones a happy and peaceful Christmas. May we strive, like St. Francis of Assisi, to proclaim by our lives the Good News of God among us and in doing so, make Jesus Christ live anew! And may the Lord grant you his peace!”