December 19, 2018




Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

"Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth

peace among those whom he favors!" (Luke 2:14)

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

As we celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord, we do so with a sense of wonder in our hearts. The story of the birth of Jesus serves as a constant reminder of God's love for us.

To express God's boundless love for us, God appears among us in the person of his own son, Jesus Christ. God with us. Emmanuel. And in this we rejoice!

This year, we celebrate Christmas in the context of the 100th Anniversary of the End of World War I. On November 11, 1918, church bells rang out throughout the world as an outpouring of relief that four years of war had come to an end. We remember and honour those who served and sacrificed - millions who gave with their lives - that we might have peace. We remember the joy that peace brought after so much death and destruction.


Jesus, at his birth, comes into the world as the Prince of Peace, in fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah: "For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9: 6).

Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He comes into the world as the great peacemaker among humanity.

He teaches in the Beatitudes, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God" (Matthew 5: 9).

At his death, he tells his disciples, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you" (John 14: 27).

On that very first Easter, we are told: "When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you.'" (John 20: 19).

Alongside other powerful names such as Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, and Eternal Father, Jesus is given the title Prince of Peace, indicating one of His many roles - the One who is the leader of peace and offers it to others.

As we celebrate Jesus' birth this Christmas, let us thank God for the gift of peace. And let us honour the Prince of Peace by continuing to be peacemakers in the world, starting within our own families and among our friends and neighbours.

But how can we do so?

The story is told about an old rabbi once asked his students how one could recognize the time when night ends and day begins. One student asked, "Is it when, from a great distance, you can tell a dog from a sheep?" "No," said the rabbi. Another student asked, "Is it when, from a great distance, you can tell a date palm from a fig tree?" "No," said the rabbi. "Then," the students asked, "when is it?" The rabbi answered, "It is when you look into the face of any human creature and see your brother or sister there. Until then, night is still with us.

Ah, to see brother or sister in all. This is the call of all humanity.

Yet, we live in a world that is all too often filled with horrific examples of communities torn apart: hunger and starvation, ethnic cleansing, segregation, genocide, tougher immigration, and so on.

Still, there is plenty of food and work for everyone in the world if we but share our common wealth and recognize that we are all brothers and sisters. We are not alone but are related with others all around the world. We belong to the family of God, and it is the love of God that binds us together.

This Christmas, we remember those that fought for peace in the world. We remember the joy that peace brought, and pray for peace and a better world - including places where there is conflict today: Ukraine, Syria, the Middle East, and others - when we can truly call each other brother and sister.

As we celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord, may Christ, truly bless you and your family with peace, love and joy, now and in the New Year!

Christ is Born! Let us Glorify Him!

+ Lawrence Huculak OSBM, Metropolitan Archbishop of Winnipeg

+ Michael Wiwchar CSSR, Bishop Emeritus of Saskatoon

+ Severian Yakymyshyn OSBM, Bishop Emeritus of New Westminster

+ David Motiuk, Eparchial Bishop of Edmonton

+ Stephen Chmilar, Eparchial Bishop of Toronto

+ Ken Nowakowski, Eparchial Bishop of New Westminster

+ Bryan Bayda CSSR, Eparchial Bishop of Saskatoon

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