Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas Message

A Christmas Greeting:

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ; and those of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church, Archdiocese of California. May grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled (Luke 2:1). With those words began the journey of the Virgin Mary and her husband Joseph to the town of Bethlehem to be counted as Joseph was of the House of David. It is one of the most beautiful stories of all time, the story of the birth of Jesus. A story that continues to remain ever fresh, never growing old for more than 2,015 years. How many words have been written, how many songs of praise have been sung telling of the birth of the Christ Child in a stable?

Then, after the blessed Child was born there were the shepherds who came to worship Him after being told by Angels of the wonder to be found in that stable. Again, in time there were other visitors from afar who came to pay homage to the Christ Child, bringing gifts of great value. Like the shepherds they too went their way returning to the lands from whence they came.

Today as we stop to reflect on all that had taken place we find one verse in the story that is sometimes overlooked. Once the shepherds have come and gone from the birthplace of Jesus, Mary and Joseph are alone once again with their child and Scripture tells us Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).

Think of Mary and all she has experienced. From the announcement of her being chosen by God as the mother of the Savior, the turmoil of Joseph understanding her condition, then the hurried journey to Bethlehem, to the birth of her Son in a stable with strangers coming to visit him and with angels on site. Mary stops to take a deep breath and reflect on all that has happened not missing a single moment of the beauty of her Son’s birth.

This Christmas, we should all take that breath like Mary. In today’s chaotic happing’s we need to pause and think and pray. To reflect on the life of Our Savior and what his sacrifice means to each of us. To reflect on what the story of His birth means and what it means to us; stopping to reflect on how we can and must live our lives differently.
Because of Jesus, to make sure that we truly take this story to heart, as Mary did in that little town of Bethlehem so long ago.

I wish each of you a joy filled, merry, peaceful, and Christ filled Christmas. May all of your days through this wondrous season be joy filled with the grace of God’s blessing? May you have the opportunity to be with all those you hold dear through this Christmas season and into the coming New Year?

Your brother in Christ,
 + Bob

Most Rev. Bobby C. Hall, DD
Auxiliary Bishop