My Dear Friends in Christ,
There is something about the holidays that brings memories of years past to mind. I remember that growing up we would go to midnight Mass. I remember that we would visit the crib and point out the statues of the different characters in the Christmas story — the shepherds and their sheep, the Magi and their camels, Mary and Joseph and, of course, the Baby Jesus. I remember the incense and the candles and the sounds of Silent Night and O Come, All Ye Faithful echoing in my ears as I struggled to keep my eyes open. I remember some Christmas Eve nights when the snow gently fell and others when we were treated to a clear and starlit sky.
As the years have passed, I have come to a much deeper appreciation of this night. On this holy night we remember much more than hymns and statues, candles and snowfall — as wonderful as they might be. We remember that God loves us enough to become one of us.
We remember a God who does not hide away in some heaven or is housed only in some temple or church but whom we find in the ordinariness of life: Yesterday, as a baby in Bethlehem; today, under the appearance of bread and wine, water and oil, fire and light and in human touch and speech.
On this holy night we remember the Word truly made flesh; not acting, not pretending for the shepherds and wise men, not putting on a show for Herod and his friends, but real flesh and blood like you and me. A flesh that one day would be broken for us; a blood that one day would be poured out for us.
We remember, as the Creed has it, the one incarnate of the Virgin Mary, the God who loves us so much that he is willing to share in our humanity so we can share in his divinity.
My prayer for all of us as we move into 2012 is that we embrace our call to be more like Christ who showed us what it means to be most human and so glorify the Lord in our lives by all we say and do.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Rev. Martin Amos
Bishop of Davenport