December 17, 2021

A Christmas Message from Archbishop Charles C. Thompson

(En Espanol)

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Archbishop Charles C. ThompsonChristmas greetings of good tidings and joy! Celebrating the incarnation of God becoming man in the person of Jesus Christ, whatever one’s plight in life, is a cause to rejoice. Our Savior was born into earthly poverty that we might reap the heavenly riches of eternal life.

There has been much weighing upon the spirit of humanity during this last year. We continue striving to overcome the struggles of COVID amid an increase in violence, mental health issues, ever-increasing polarization, humanitarian concerns, impact of natural disasters and social unrest throughout our country as well as the world. Many are still struggling with health, economic, housing and justice issues. Underlying all these issues and concerns is our need for meaning, purpose and belonging.

Christmas reminds us that our deepest hungers, thirsts, desires and needs are ultimately satisfied by divine grace, mercy and love. The celebration of Christmas marks how God provides for humanity what is beyond that which can be met by the world. After all, it is the Creator rather than created beings or things that make salvation possible for us. The Christmas event, the birth of Jesus Christ, involves nothing less than the supremely divine being of all creation breaking into the human condition in a way that exceeded human imagination and invention. In the person of Jesus Christ, God became one like us in all things but sin. He came to us so that nothing could prevent us from being reconciled to Him and one another.

Today’s world is not completely unlike that of the first Christmas, when Jesus was born to Mary and Joseph in the humble surroundings of a cave-like manger. At that time, humanity was plagued with the scourge of war, insurrection and injustice that often resulted in the most vulnerable being cast into greater poverty and desperate for refuge. It is not by denying all the muck of our human condition, but by fully acknowledging its reality, that we are able to truly appreciate the gift of salvation offered in the coming of Emmanuel, a name meaning “God is with us.” Jesus is Emmanuel, our hope and salvation! In Him, we are able to rise from the pressing weight of despair, fear, guilt, shame and bitterness. To be drawn into a personal encounter with Him is to reverse course from the growing polarization and radical individualism of subjective truth and look to Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life of all that is good, beautiful and holy.

And so, regardless of whatever challenges or hardships we may be facing, every man, woman and child has cause to rejoice in Jesus Christ. In Him, love prevails over hate, hope springs eternal and faith does not disappoint. I pray that each and every soul may experience the peace and tenderness of divine mercy in celebrating the birthday of our Savior, Jesus Christ, keeping in mind that the best is still yet to come.

Blessed Christmas!

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson

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