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Christmas Message from Archbishop André Gaumond, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

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Most Rev. André GAUMONDThe Good News of Christmas: God's Gift to the World

In a society such as ours, Christmas is often reduced to being simply a gathering of family and friends.  While Christmas is a wonderful occasion for getting together, it is important not to lose its basic religious meaning.  Isaiah had already prophesized the good news: "The Lord himself will give you a sign.  Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel, that is God is with us" (Isaiah 7.14).

Christmas is first of all about God coming into our world.  He becomes one of us in this Child.  Christmas is God's gift in his Son, Jesus, who calls each of us to conversion.  The Child whom Mary contemplates is a gift, a perfect offering, a fragile presence at risk because of the many cares of life.  He is there as an invitation to be welcomed, waiting for our response, while respecting each person's liberty.

We can never fully understand the tremendous mystery of the Incarnation by which Christ shares our human nature.  The Incarnation is a manifestation of God's interest in us.  It witnesses that divine love and mercy for all humanity which has no regard to race or social status.  The Son of God became one of us in the humility of the stable.  "Though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited," the Apostle Paul tells us (Philippians 2.6).  Christ comes to save us from sin and death.

At Christmas, God enters our lives so we may enter divine life.  Humanity was looking to be saved, and God sends us a child!  Humanity was hoping for the extraordinary, and God comes in everyday life.  Humanity was waiting for something on which to lean, while God has need of us - the need for a mother to give nourishment and a father to provide protection. God not only needs us - God comes to live in us.  By his Spirit, he comes among us so as to be present to our world.  The good news is not only Emmanuel, God is with us, but God in us and God living in us.

Christmas certainly is an opportunity for joy and cheer, but most of all we need to welcome the Child in the manger.  In this Child we already see the mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ, and recognize the promise of the Eucharist, the gift of God for the life of the world.

May we experience the real joy of Christmas and what is truly its good news.

+ André Gaumond
Archbishop of Sherbrooke and
President of the Canadian
Conference of Catholic Bishops

Last Updated on Tuesday, October 20 2009  
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On January 13th 2010, Most Reverend Vincent Nguyen became Canada’s first Catholic Bishop of East Asian descent. He is the great-grandson of a Vietnamese Martyr.