Bishop Donald Hying’s Christmas Message Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Bishop Donald J. Hying, Bishop of Madison   
Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019 -- 12:00 AM
nativity picture
The Nativity is depicted in this 16th-century painting by Italian artist Lorenzo Lotto. The Nativity of Christ is celebrated December 25. (CNS/Bridgeman Images)

The writings of the Old Testament prophets expressed Israel’s deep longing for God to show His face, to rend the curtain of separation, to usher in an age of peace, mercy, and salvation, to break down the barriers of separation between the Lord and His people.

But no one, not Isaiah or Zephaniah or Jeremiah would have dared to dream that God would become a human being, assuming the lowliness of our flesh, breaking into time, space, and history.

In the person of Jesus Christ, the universal, mysterious, invisible, transcendent God becomes a man, subject to all of our limitations, frailties, and difficulties with the exception of sin.

The Church has never gotten over the wonder of the Incarnation because we see with blazing clarity the absolute and perfect love of God for us in the mystery of the Word made flesh. God saves us from inside our own human condition and experience.

As human beings, we are mired in sin, we face suffering, we bear the heavy knowledge of our own mortality, we know pain, anguish, conflict, fear, and difficulty. Our world is burdened by poverty, violence, selfishness, war, and disease.

We walk in the shadow of death. The astonishing Good News of the Gospel is that God has broken through every barrier of separation and limitation in us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ! There is no sin, suffering, fear, disease, or death that is not transformed and healed through the merciful love of Christ.

In the divine condescension of Christmas, God has fully assumed our humanity, stepped into our space and time, offering us forgiveness in place of sin, healing instead of disease, courage in the face of fear, peace that conquers violence, and eternal life which has swallowed up death.

Because of His overwhelming love for us, God could not simply stay in heaven and watch us trapped in the shadows of sin and death from a distance. He boldly enters in, smashing every obstacle, division, impediment, and wall which separates us from the Lord.

My prayer for you in this Christmas season is that you may experience the love of Christ ever more profoundly in your lives, knowing His grace, mercy, and salvation as the answer and solution to every difficulty and suffering that you experience.

Through prayer, the sacraments, the Scriptures, through lives of compassion, service, and joy, surrender all of your resistance to His irresistible love and goodness. Welcome the Christ Child into your hearts and let Him truly reign within your soul. When we do so, we know a joy and peace this world cannot give.

Because it is my first Christmas among you as your bishop, I feel the beauty of this holy season with a particular intensity. Please know of my love, prayers, and gratitude for all of you as we celebrate the wonder of the Word made flesh -- Emmanuel -- God with us

Bishop Donald J. Hying
Bishop of Madison

Please support our advertisers: