ANGLICAN CHURCH IN AMERICA
Diocese of the Northeast
Rt. Rev. Brian Marsh, Bishop
Diocese of the Northeast

 

Presiding Bishop's Christmas Message

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 

Blessings to you all this Christmas.

 

Although none of us was present at the birth of Immanuel, God among us, we hold fiercely onto the memory, a memory made real each year at Christmastide. And though we cannot fully grasp the meaning of his birth, we know in our hearts that this birth holds a reality beyond anything we may presume to know. It is nothing less than the wonder of God coming among us as this tiny human child. It is this memory that is always with us.

 

Yes, we do know some of the facts, a few temporal details we can hold onto: Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem some two thousand years ago. At that time, Bethlehem was an obscure corner of the great Roman Empire. It was nighttime. The people of that country, aside from a few shepherds, were asleep. So it was that the Son of God was born at night in a tiny stable in a remote corner of a mighty empire.

 

There was no welcome for Him; he was greeted with no great pageantry; there was no outpouring of thanks for the one who had created the world. Truly, there was no understanding that he had even entered the world at all. But Jesus knew that world - our world. He knew the world better than we ever will. And he chose to be among us, to live with us, to share all of human life with us. He came to the only place left for him. And it was enough.

 

We are drawn to that place each year at Christmas. Our minds seek to understand a mystery that seems so impossible to grasp. We may look at the manger scenes we see around us, those simple recreations of that first Christmas morning: little tableaux, a window onto the divine.

 

At Christmas, Jesus comes to us in the one place that is left to him in all the world, the one place he knows he will find a home, the one place he will meet us where we are most human and most like the God that created us. It is in that place, the Bethlehem of the spirit, that he finds his home with us. It is the place in our own hearts where he may truly live and grow. We open our hearts to him at Christmastide. And it is enough. It is always enough.

 

"O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in,
Be born in us today."

 

 

Your Brother in Christ,

+Brian