What I Have Seen and Heard
Published: December 18, 2008
The excitement of this wondrous season is now noticeably upon us as we prepare to celebrate the Mystery of Christmas—the free choice of God Almighty to become one with us, born an Infant of a Virgin Mother. God who could have redeemed us in an infinite number of ways chose rather to enter human history in our own image. The all-powerful Lord of creation chose to cloth Himself in our flesh and thereby save the creature that He had fashioned to become like Him in image and destiny.
The heart of the Christmas Mystery is captured in the sublime Gift of the Son—a Gift more precious than anything that we might ever exchange with any of those that we love and who love us in return.
Try as we might, we can never surpass God in generosity or in finding the perfect Gift. The Father has given us not only what we desperately needed, but a Gift that far exceeds our longing. This entire season is all about giving and receiving gifts. Some people will endure long lines, rising at unreasonable hours and going to great expense to provide the perfect gift for a loved one.
As you go about looking for gifts for your beloveds, you seek to give something that they want, something that they need, something that will astonish them.
God has achieved that and more for all of us in the Gift of His Son.
Shoppers are always looking for good deals, for gifts that will last, for gifts that will delight.
The Father has accomplished that and more in the offering of His Son. On Christmas all creation receives what it most needed to be perfected as only God desires.
This little Child who appears helpless and totally dependent upon His Blessed Mother and His much-loved stepfather Joseph would satisfy the Father’s design in beginning His plan of salvation for us all. Christmas is all about gift giving, and the Father has surpassed everything that we might have desired in sending us His Son. Our own meager efforts to please the hearts of our loved ones are never equal to Our Father’s perfect Gift of His Son—a Gift that renders all of us even more precious in His sight as His adopted sons and daughters.
With this Christmas message, I must also publicly acknowledge my profound gratitude for the countless cards, floral tributes, notes and gifts that I received as I observed my 25th anniversary as a Bishop. I discovered in your kindness more than I ever could have desired or anticipated. Thank you from the heart for helping me to remember that special day in my life and to give thanks for the 25 years of grace that the Lord has provided for me in calling me to serve His Church as a Bishop.
My three bishop brothers who were ordained together that December 13 have been blessed with the friendship and support of so many wonderful people—but I consider myself the most fortunate to have been sent to the wonderful folks in North Georgia and before them to the equally fine people in southern Illinois. God indeed has been very good to me.
May this Christmas be a time of great happiness, joy and laughter for you and all of your loved ones. May the peace of this season linger in all of your hearts and homes throughout 2009 bringing you all an even more insightful appreciation of the Love that the Father has for us all. Merry Christmas, my dear brothers and sisters in the Lord!