Christmas Greetings

Christmas Greetings from Bishop Michael:

Merry Christmas to you as you gather to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I pray that in this Christmas season you may be united and re-united with family and friends, that you may know the peace of Christ, and that you may have find rest at end of this busy year.

This past year we have seen much anxiety and strife in the world. There are wars against ISIS in the Middle East and continued fighting in Israel between the Israelis and Palestinians. We have seen people protesting injustice that has lead, in some cases, to rioting. There have been shootings in Charleston, SC, Roseburg, OR, and most recently San Bernadino, CA.  On top of this, we worry about the environment, the political situation in our country, and the way we care for our veterans. There is much that could cause anxiety and worry.

It is into such a world as this that our Lord Jesus was born. It may be hard to believe, but life was not any easier 2000 years ago. There were wars, a fear of famine and drought, and no medical care. It was into this world, into the anxieties of our lives, that God became flesh and lived among us in Jesus Christ.

Jesus is our hope, our life, and our peace—because in Jesus we see that God has not and will not leave us alone. In Jesus we see that God came to be with us.

Why would God do this? Because God loves us. On the cross Jesus defeated the evils of this world and gave us the promise of eternal life. No matter how bad life gets, God is here, and God is bringing the Kingdom and the restoration and salvation of the entire world in Christ Jesus.

That is the good news of Christmas: God is here. The baby who was laid in a manger is the Lord of all who will not abandon us but who stands with us when we are feeling anxious or afraid.

Jesus is the Lord of peace who brings hope, life, and healing to the world—and to us.

May you be comforted by the peace of Christ this season

+Bishop Michael Rhyne

  Allegheny Synod, ELCA