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Make a joyful noise to the Lord all the earth! Sing of His name, give to Him glorious praise! (Psalm 65:2)


To the Reverend Clergy and Faithful of the Diocese of the West

Dearly beloved:

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Once again, we are blessed by God Almighty to witness and share in the feast of the eternal Son of God taking upon Himself humanity in every aspect, including flesh. He has become what we are so that we might become what He is and He enters into history that history might be forever changed. Like everyone born into this creation, His birth immediately points towards the grave. But His birth radically changes what that means and changes our destiny.

Our world is in perpetual turmoil. Just a few short weeks ago, in the very territory of our beloved diocese, we were shocked at the senseless slaughter of innocent human beings. If we allow ourselves to be consumed by darkness, by death, even by seeming randomness that exists in this fallen creation, we fall short of the calling inaugurated by the Child and given to each of us. That calling is to transcend darkness, sin and death — all of it! — becoming children of the Kingdom.

We overcome the world and the fears that sometime come with it by first of all coming to the Cave. It is there, in the peace and quiet away from the world, that He makes his entrance into the world. His light pierces the darkness of the cave and begins to illumine all creation. It is in the quiet of His presence that the Light begins to transform each of us. The promise that is present in that moment lives to this very day, despite our culture and society doing everything it can to crush it. We simply have to accept the promise.

There is only one Gift that really matters. Each of us is given the opportunity to humbly and gratefully receive this Gift and to make Him our own on this Christmas Day. By doing so, I become a gift to others, making Him present. It is the “re-gifting” that is not only acceptable, but also recommended! May the new-born Christ shine brightly in the hearts of each and every one of you on this glorious Feast, my beloved diocesan family!

In the new-born Child,

Archbishop of San Francisco and the West

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