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A Christmas Message from Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin

December 23, 2019
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
 
As we enter the final days of Advent, and wait in anticipation for Christmas Day, a common question often arises: What is the true meaning of Christmas?
 
When you turn on the TV or go online this time of year, you’re typically overwhelmed with countless ads about “finding the perfect gift,” or getting “last minute deals.”
 
And if you listen to music on the radio or on your favorite streaming service, you’ll hear songs about a snowman in a silk hat, or a Grandma who had an unfortunate encounter with a reindeer.
 
It’s true that on December 25th, many of us will gather with our family and friends to share food, tell stories, and exchange gifts. 
 
But there is a more profound meaning of Christmas that tends to get lost in our culture.
 
On Christmas Day, we celebrate first and foremost, the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Christmas is a joyous time that invites us to welcome God’s love into our hearts, and to share this love with others throughout the New Year.
 
During the season of Advent, I often reflect on the Gospel of Luke—specifically the conversation between the angel Gabriel and Mary, our Blessed Mother. In the Gospel, St. Luke tells us that Gabriel appeared before Mary, and he told her that she will give birth to the “Son of the Most High” (Lk 1:33)—and that she will name him Jesus.
 
In response to this, Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).
 
This conversation between Gabriel and Mary leads us to the most profound meaning of Christmas: God loves us so much that he gave up everything in order to become one with us. Through Mary, he made it possible for us to identify with him, and to recognize his humanity.
 
This Christmas, let us follow Mary’s example. Just as she opened her heart to God, let us open our hearts to her son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Let us allow His light, His mercy, and His love to fill our hearts with joy.
 
I pray you enjoy a peaceful and faith-filled Christmas season—and may God Bless you and your loved ones. Merry Christmas!