My Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The good news of Christmas rings in our ears and embraces our hearts, filling us with new hope and enduring joy. "For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger" (Lk 2:11-12).
Yes, the Infant Savior was born in a stable in Bethlehem. Stables are usually rough places, unkempt and drafty. Yet, the Eternal Son of God chose a stable to be His first dwelling place after His birth.
This Christmas, the Infant Savior desires to make His dwelling within each of us. His birth at the stable in Bethlehem assures us that He can be born in the stable of our hearts, imperfect though they may be. Indeed, during these weeks of Advent, we have been preparing for His joyous coming. Let us then open wide the doors of our hearts to receive Him!
As we welcome the Infant Savior into our stables this Christmas, let us also welcome in His name all those whose lives intertwine with ours, offering them generosity, forgiveness, love and peace. May we also hold in prayer the men and women serving in our Armed Services, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yes, may this wondrous day find us opening as never before the stable that we are to Him and to all our brothers and sisters!
I pray that this Christmas and throughout the coming year, each one of you may offer a greater openness to our Lord Jesus Christ. This will be my prayer for you at the Holy Masses I celebrate on Christmas. May each one of you and your loved ones have a blessed Christmas!
Faithfully in Christ,
Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde
Bishop of Arlington