Do not be afraid; for see - I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
So the angels speak to the shepherds on the day of Jesus' birth. So the angels speak to us. Do not be afraid.
In the world today there seem to be so many reasons to fear, so many death-dealing realities that surround us. Gun violence in San Bernardino, in Colorado Springs, in Paris, and in the Middle East continues to take innocent lives. And while the wanton terror of ISIL/ISIS and other extremist groups increases, political leaders here in the United States, capitalizing on fear, are quick to call for the closing of our borders to refugees and those seeking to escape from such evil. We sure need some good news in the face of all this fear and death.
And the good news is that God in Jesus, born again in the mangers of our lives, is the Messiah, the Lord. In Jesus, fully human and fully divine, God crosses the divides that separate us from God and one another. In Jesus, God takes on the pain of the world, the pain and suffering of our own lives, the pain and suffering caused by gun violence and religious and political extremism. In Jesus' life, death and resurrection we are given the truth that light and life will always triumph over fear and death.
The good news of Christmas is that the babe lying in the stable offers us the way to live without fear, and frees us from the death-dealing ways of the world.
Jesus models for us a compassionate way of being and empowers us to live lives of peace, always seeking to share that peace with others.
We invite you to share the good news of Jesus' birth in real and tangible ways. The Bishops and Staff of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut have decided to make our annual Christmas gift to the good work of our partners in refugee resettlement: Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (
). We invite you to join us in a gift to IRIS or some other agency helping with the refugee crisis in the world.
Merry Christmas, one and all.