For most of my childhood and into my early adulthood, I spent with my extended family at my Aunt Lou and Uncle Bill’s house in Fort Worth, Texas. It was an annual event at Thanksgiving and Christmas to gather together. I remember very clearly going into the front door and the laughter and the hugs and the tremendous love and welcome that was there.
When a new member would be introduced into the family, we would have to adapt to these new traditions and new ways of being this family.
I also remember that it didn’t matter if we were smaller in number or larger in number in any given year, there was always room at the table for everyone who came.
I also remember that it didn’t matter if we were smaller in number or larger in number in any given year, there was always room at the table for everyone who came – for those strays that we picked up who had no place to be on this most holy night to college roommates who weren’t going home for Christmas. My Aunt Lou and others would make sure that there was enough food and enough room at the dining room table, the kitchen table, or the card tables.
Christmas was always marked by love, by acceptance of who you are, by there being a place at the table for everyone and a real sense of the possibilities that were wide open for anyone for the future.
Let me go back to that little child lying in the manger – that little child represents for us the love and the confidence that God has in us and has shown to us across the millennia.
That little child represents for us the love and the confidence that God has in us and has shown to us across the millennia.
God has demonstrated an openness and a flexibility, a creativity to respond to all of the circumstances that we find ourselves in in humanity. Whether through prophets, through apostles, through martyrs, and through the unlikely sending of a little baby boy to be the savior of the world. God has shown us that indeed love comes down at Christmas.
God has shown us that indeed love comes down at Christmas.
My prayer for you and for everyone who hears this message is that God will be present in a very tangible way for you this Christmas. That you will know that indeed love has come down and that hope and possibility reign throughout all ages.
From all of us here in the Diocese of Eastern Michigan, we give thanks to you and we give thanks to God for the birth of a little baby who would save our world and us.
May God bless you. Merry Christmas.
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- Bishop’s Address to the 22nd Convention