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Bishop’s Christmas Message 2023

God’s Divine Love Permeates for a Broken World
“They shall name Him Emmanuel” which means, “God is with us”

(St. Matthew 1: 23)


Christmas is the solemn gathering of the faithful to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus, and the world’s Messiah or Anointed One. As we commemorate his birthday, I feel compelled to remind the diocesan family that God became human like us so that we might draw closer to God. The Lord of the angels became one of us so that we could eat the bread of angels. What a stunningly beautiful and awesome way to sum up the Christmas message.


The center of attraction is the manger with the child Jesus, who by coming among us offers God’s healing and love to our broken and hostile world. As I reminded our family some years ago, believing and receiving him means putting him first, far ahead of the fading glory and shifting hopes offered by this world. Also, Jesus offers humanity a personal way of knowing, loving, and relating to God our Father and Creator in heaven, and our fellow neighbors.


Christ’s birth is the bridging of two realities that shows that God is not just the God of heaven but Lord and Creator of the universe. Christmas is God’s incarnation, that is, God taking human flesh and becoming like us. God became human, not just to save the world, but to bless the world, to bless being human, to endorse being human, to join us in our humanness. In this holy and joyful season Jesus invites us to come to him as a child embodying all the characteristics manifested in children – from the purity of innocence to the openness toward all people – of different cultures, ethnicities, nationalities, social or economic status, identity preference and skin color. The timeless incarnational truth in this message is God’s invitation for us to participate in the holy work of salvation. We are co-responsible for our salvation by embracing and incarnating Jesus’ call to ‘come unto me’ and ‘live in me as I live in you’.


This one, simple verse tells us why Jesus was born-so that we could be in the presence of God who ultimately transforms us into the Creator’s likeness. Could there possibly be a greater Christmas gift? All we have to do is receive him and believe in him. Jesus came as an innocent, lovable baby, but he is still the One who gives the “grace and truth” we need to overcome the tragedy that inhabits our human condition, that is sin, and become united with him forever. Moreover, he is still the one who will come back at the end of time (parousia) to judge the living and the dead. Clearly receiving Jesus means more than a sense of happiness when we look at a manger scene!

Believing and receiving him means putting him first, far ahead of the fading glory and shifting hopes offered by this world. He wants us to realize that there will be things about which we will have to open our hearts and minds and accept joyfully and jubilantly. Look around and see the children in their many Christmas presentations, whether in their Carol Services or Christmas Pageants, how excited and thrilled they seem to be as they share the Christmas story. For children, all the experiences of life are new and thrilling adventures. They take them in and do so willingly and eagerly. Adults will do well to adopt this attitude at Christmas, that of childlike innocence, and once again give the gift of this sacred birth we celebrate a chance to fill us with PEACE! JOY! LOVE!


My beloved, the birthday of Jesus marks our own birthday. Our baptism into Christ fundamentally draws us into a shared intimate relationship with him. This accounts for the reason, as I once shared with you, why over the centuries the practice of gift sharing has become so popular. In truth, we are all celebrating this birthday with Jesus which gives us every reason to exchange gifts during this happy season.

Also, I encourage you to find time to share the gift of your life this season simply by bringing joy to someone else’s life. Share your gift of kindness and selflessness that characterizes the spirit of the season, without the expectation of anything in return.

And as we do so, we are reminded also to spare some time in our celebration to invite the Christ child of Bethlehem stable, Jesus the Lord and Savior, into our lives – giving him the freedom to lead us where he wishes, recommitting our life to the guiding principles of love for all, peace, joy and Christian harmony.


Finally, to my beloved colleagues in ministry – all those who serve God and this Church… Nalini ‘Lynn’ and I are conscious of the gift we have received from God in allowing us to share ministry and companionship with each and every one of you. You have all made our life in the diocese a truly remarkable and holy experience. We love you with our heart, mind and soul! As the angels remind us, “God is with us”.

Every blessing, joy, happiness, peace and goodwill to you and your beloved family members during this Christmas season!


Merry Christmas to all and a Happy and blessed New Year 2024!

+San & Lynn
Christmas 2023