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Merry Christmas!

Christmas is here. Preparations are done, the tree is lit, and now it is time to pause and wonder. How may this Christmas be different, what might God have in store for us? Memories, traditions, and music are in play. Sudden sentiments, and moments of hopeful peace will warm hearts. Or will this all happen as we wish?

For those whose world has been torn apart by war, this will be a cold season. For those who have seen the destruction of their cities over the past year, loss of loved ones, homes and families uprooted, this is a time of bitter upheaval. Yet they are still celebrating Christmas. Those caught in the misery of displacement and immigration into foreign lands, are still finding a way to celebrate this Christmas. Hurricanes, natural disasters, you name it, Christmas is being celebrated. Many of us have suffered losses and disappointments over the past year, and life as we know it has changed. Yet Christmas is here.

"Sudden sentiments, and moments of hopeful peace will warm hearts."

Some 2000 years ago a tiny family, newly formed and soon displaced, found themselves in the backwater town of Bethlehem, in answer to the call for a census. There was no room for them there, and they were shown a stable, hardly fit for a mother about to give birth. The manger, used to feed the animals, was cleared. And so, it was on that first Christmas day that Jesus entered the world. Suddenly, shepherds and angels appeared. The glory of the heavens opened. Emmanuel, God is with us, then, now, and forever.

Christmas is here. The miracle of Christmas is that it happens in the heart. It lies deeply in the mystery of the way we are made: we are created to hold Christ in our hearts. The manger is already there in our heart, our place of humility and poverty. This is where Christmas takes place. This is where Jesus will be found.

"The glory of the heavens opened. Emmanuel, God is with us, then, now, and forever. "

My prayers go out for you, your families, and all your concerns. May your Christmas encounter with the child Jesus bring joy to you and all those you love. May hearts be enlightened and renewed over all the earth. May the year ahead be one of fulfillment, happiness, and peace! The glory of the heavens has opened, and the path of joy lies ahead. Merry Christmas!

+Most Reverend Stephen J. Berg

Bishop of Pueblo

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