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Adoration of the Shepherds by Rembrandt van Rijn, c. 1646

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

The following is an excerpt from St. John Paul II’s Urbi Et Orbi Message, Christmas 2002.[1]

Today the mystery of Christmas is renewed: this Child who brings salvation to the world is also born for the men and women of our own time, bringing joy and peace for all. We approach the crib with emotion; together with Mary we go to meet the Long-Awaited of the Nations, the Redeemer of humanity.

With Mary let us contemplate the face of Christ: in that Child, wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in the manger (cf. Lk 2:7), it is God himself who comes to visit us, to guide our feet in the way of peace (cf. Lk 1:79). Mary watches him, caresses him and keeps him warm, pondering the meaning of the wondrous signs which surround the mystery of Christmas.

Together with you, O Virgin Mother, may we stop and reflect at the manger where the Child lies, to share your own amazement at the immense “condescension” of God. Grant us your own eyes, O Mary, that we may understand the mystery hidden within the frail limbs of your Son. Teach us to recognize his face in the children of every race and culture. Help us to be credible witnesses of his message of peace and love, so that the men and women of our own time, still torn by conflicts and unspeakable violence, may also recognize in the Child cradled in your arms the one Saviour of the world, the endless source of that true peace for which every heart profoundly yearns.

Wishing you a blessed, joyful, and peaceful Christmas. May Christ’s light burn brightly in your hearts and in your homes.

Dennis & Rose

[1] John Paul II, Orbi Et Orbi Message, Christmas 2002; internet: http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/messages/urbi/documents/hf_jp-ii_mes_20021225_urbi.html (accessed December 21, 2018).