December 23, 2001

A Christmas Message

We are not alone. God is with us, hidden in this darkness, accompanying us with steadfast love. Is this not cause for great hope when so much of our world is experiencing the "darkness" of poverty, homelessness, dislocation, war, humanity's intractable cruelties?

And hope gets even more grounded when we remember that "in the stillness of the night, the Eternal Word leapt down from heaven and pitched his tent among us." The Incarnate Word, Jesus, the Son of God, not only made his dwelling among us, but emptied himself of his divinity and became one of us. God in Christ crossed over to us to stand in solidarity with us. We are in relationship with God who loves this world, who seeks out the lost and sides with those who are in darkness. Jesus crosses over to show us how to love inside our broken selves, inside our broken world. He crosses over to teach us what love is inside the cruel cold of a cave full of animal sounds and other things, among other traveler and strangers, in the painful, bloody mess of birth. Meanwhile, nearby, light tears open the skies. Terrifying, strange beings pour out of heaven. Men and boys and sheep are utterly dazed and sore afraid. The sky closes. Darkness descends once again. Shepherds stammer their praise. Frightened people, like you and me, must now bear the message of love.

As we celebrate this beautiful mystery of Christmas, my prayer is that each of us "shall be born ... by blessed grace" and renewed in the Christ who is "hidden in this dark" with us.

Marie Chin rsm
Chair, Mercy International Association

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