y Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
This year’s Advent journey is a brief one— just three weeks and a day! Doesn’t it seem to you like this year we are especially eager to celebrate the Lord’s coming?
We have good reason to long for the Lord’s return. War rages in Ukraine, the Holy Land, and too many other regions of the world. Seeing the suffering of so many—who are not statistics but our sisters and brothers—we can’t help but long for the Prince of Peace. And so we pray: Come, Lord Jesus, comfort your people and fill our hearts with the comfort and joy of your peace!
During Advent, we dare to give voice to our deepest longings and most precious hopes. If we listen carefully to the Word of God during this holy season, sacred writers like the prophet Isaiah and Luke the Evangelist will describe the reason for our hope:
Today a light will shine upon us, for a child is born for us, a son is given to us; and he will be called Wondrous God, Prince of Peace, Father of Future Ages: and his reign will be without end (Cf. Is 9:1, 5; Lk 1:33).
During the Christmas season, we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. On December 25, many of us will gather with our family and friends to share food, tell stories, and exchange gifts. Others will do the same on January 6, el Día de los Tres Magos. Christmas is a joyous time that invites us to welcome God’s love into our hearts and to share this love with others throughout the New Year.
This Christmas, let us follow Mary’s example. Just as she opened her heart to God, let us open our hearts to her Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Let us allow His light, His mercy, His peace and His love to flood our hearts with joy.
I pray you have a joyful and faith-filled Christmas season. May God bless you and your loved ones with Peace. Merry Christmas!
Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R.
Archbishop of Newark