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Do not be afraid; for see – I bring you tidings of great joy to all people. – Luke 2:10

 

Dear Friends,

The beautiful and consoling message, “Do not be afraid,” appears 115 times in sacred scripture.   In this verse, we hear the angel announcing the reason for glad tidings:  Jesus Christ is born, He is Emmanuel, God with us.  We prepare this year for Christmas as we always do—for the celebration of the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us; God incarnate in history.

If ever there was a time when we need to turn away from fear to hope, it is now, at the close of 2020. No matter how challenging and worrisome this year has been, it has not, and will not, shake our faith in Jesus Christ. The words of the angel uplift and strengthen us to persevere and overcome, to rise above the hardships of lost jobs, lost semesters, lost gatherings with family and friends, and even lost lives. We are not alone—God is most assuredly with us.

The Adoration of the Shepherds by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

The Star of Bethlehem hung in the sky more than 2,000 years ago as a light of hope to herald the birth of a Savior. Today, let us turn toward our Savior—our ever-present light of hope.

I personally want to thank all who have served as a source of light for the Jesuits of the USA East Province. Your continued support has helped carry forward our mission of faith, justice and reconciliation in a year when it was so desperately needed.

Regardless of what our family gatherings may resemble this Christmas, may God’s grace enhance our love and appreciation of each other and give us a spirit of hope for 2021.

Do not be afraid… Our Savior dwells among us.

Sincerely in Christ,

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