Christmas 2017 Message

My dear friends in Christ,  

You may notice that, in our society, Christmas has become very commercialized and pagan. Every day in this season, radio, TV, and newspapers comment on how people over-spend and eat and drink excessively.  To celebrate Christmas we need to come back to the true meaning of Christmas.   Why is Christmas so important for us?  Christmas is all about the Incarnation.  God took on our human nature in order to confer on us the dignity of God’s children and to show us our eternal destiny in heaven.  By becoming a child, completely dependent on human care, God took away the distance between the divine and the human.  In Jesus, God lived among us to show us how to live out the fullness of our humanity; therefore religion and holiness have become very real. Christmas tells us that religion is about finding God, not outside of our lives but within them and to find Him we need to learn from the humble shepherds.   After receiving the message from the Angels, the shepherds did not sit back.  They went and searched for the Child until they found Him.  The message from heaven demanded action from them.  Despite the dark and the cold, they eagerly and faithfully made the journey to Bethlehem to find Christ.  Still, the Gospel tells us something more important, that is, on their way back when the excitement died down, the brightness of the star faded, they had to face back to the dark and cold, they continue to glorify and praise God for all they had seen and heard.  They went back to their flocks.  They returned to the same lowly work.  Life went on as before but with one major difference: their hearts were filled with wonder.   Christmas invites us to open our hearts to God’s wonder and to open our hearts means to begin to live with the gift of Incarnation.  This is the great joy of Christmas but also a very demanding call for us.   May the great joy be yours so that you may fulfill the demand of Christmas. 

Merry and blessed Christmas,      

+Joseph Phuong Nguyen
Bishop of Kamloops