CUNNINGHAM’S 2009 CHRISTMAS MESSAGE
Dear Friends in Christ,
This Christmas season gives me the treasured opportunity of extending heartfelt good wishes to the clergy, religious and laity of the Diocese of Syracuse. I pray that this Christmas season, our first together, will bring to each of your hearts and homes the blessing of peace.
Christmas is more than a day or a season. It is the celebration of a monumental event in the life of the human family. Our God, infinite and eternal, becomes one of us … “and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us,” (Jn. 1:14). He took our human nature and gave it an eternal value. And because our God-made-visible loved us so much, He chose to remain with us through the precious gift of His Body and Blood in the Eucharist. The new light that dawned upon the world with the birth of God’s Son is present to us, not only on Christmas, but every day, especially when we celebrate His life at the altar. The celebration of Christmas invites us to contemplate anew this wondrous gift and mystery of God’s love. During this season and throughout the year, I pray that together, parish communities and each of us as individuals will rekindle our love, respect and reverence for the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.
In the midst of our very troubling times — economically, politically, socially — we look to the Lord for help and, especially, for the gift of wisdom, concretely manifested in His life and teachings. We pray especially that the commemoration of the Lord’s birth will move our hearts to more intense prayer and action on behalf of peace. In particular, echoing the song of the heavenly messengers on that first Christmas night, we ask that the Lord give to the entire world the blessing of peace and the protection of His love.
Sadly, many do not experience the great gift of God’s love and peace so central to the meaning of Christmas. During this Christmas season, I encourage you to show God’s love to those He came to save. Invite them to join with you in the celebration of the Lord’s birth.
Christ the Light came into the world! With His birth, the darkness that covered the earth gave way to the bright dawn of the Word made flesh. Christ continues to come into our world in word and sacrament whenever we celebrate the Eucharist. We pray that God will make all of us a people of light — faithful to God’s Word, so that we may bring His light and life to the waiting world.
A very Merry Christmas to you and to all whom you love! Let us welcome Christ with faith reborn!
Devotedly yours in Christ,
Bishop Robert J. Cunningham