In our darkest times, Emmanuel, God with us, is our light

The birth of Jesus is depicted in a stained-glass window at St. Mary of the Isle Church in Long Beach, N.Y. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

The following is a message from Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron to the people of the Archdiocese of Detroit:

The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)

Each December, our homes and hearts are filled with festive carols joyfully proclaiming the approaching Christmas season. We sing of decking the halls, trimming the tree, and exchanging gifts with loved ones. As followers of Christ, we find our greatest joy in songs proclaiming the “tidings of comfort and joy” that is the birth of Jesus, the coming of Emmanuel, our newborn King and Savior.

Emmanuel means God is with us; it means Christ is near to us in our struggles and accomplishments, in our happiness and pain. This is truly “good news of great joy.” Our Savior and Redeemer, the King of the Universe, came to live among us as a child, to begin a life of taking upon himself all the joys and sorrows of humanity. Having walked this earth as one of us, he understands what it is to be human. That choice to make himself known to us in so relatable a manner is the mystery of the Incarnation, the miracle we celebrate each Christmas.

The truth that Christ understands our joys and sorrows is particularly poignant this year, as we continue to live through a time of pandemic and mourn the lives lost and shattered in Oxford. We may find it difficult to feel festive joy, but we can be comforted by the fact that Christ is with us even now — especially now. We know that almighty God “became flesh and made his dwelling among us” so that he would be near to us always and could show us how much he loves us. Even now, amidst our struggles, this is a miracle to be celebrated.

As we gather with family and friends this season, let us find “comfort and joy” in the knowledge that Christ’s birth means we are never alone. And as we lift our voices together in song, let us joyfully proclaim our Savior: “pleased with us in flesh to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel.”


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