Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
"God is closer to us than we are to ourselves," said St. Augustine, and that closeness, through the power of the Holy Spirit in the wondrous mystery of the Incarnation, becomes visible in Jesus Christ. It also becomes visible in how we treat each other and how we radiate the hope Christ brings to the world. The Word made flesh reconciles God and his human family and all creation; that is God's interpretation of the Christmas crib.
The giving of oneself to others constitutes the nature of God; therefore, Jesus never comes alone. To genuinely celebrate his birth, we cannot put individuals or entire peoples in boxes in order to dismiss them from our lives. Likewise, if we climb into a box to separate ourselves from others by our attitudes or actions, the Word made flesh cannot speak to us, transform us or save us. Moreover, if we allow our faith to be boxed in by our secular age, it becomes a personal hobby without any public presence, witness or role.
By her response, "My soul magnifies the Lord" (Luke 1:46), Mary shows complete trust and faith in God; her active cooperation with God is a model for all. As Pope Benedict emphasizes in God Is Love, "In these words she expresses her whole program of life: not setting herself at the center, but leaving space for God, who is encountered both in prayer and in service of neighbor—only then does goodness enter the world."
God has spoken and the eternal Word is made flesh. With the courage born of our faith, we proclaim in word and action, in our very flesh and bone, that Jesus Christ our Savior is born. It is our turn to speak, to one another and to the world. A blessed Christmas to all of you and to all those whom God has given you to love—Merry Christmas!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
Archbishop of Chicago