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Gift of love... promise of peace
Bishop LaValley’s Christmas message

By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

Dec. 20, 2017

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

I have asked the youth of our Diocese to provide me with a cover design for this year’s Christmas card.  I Diocese Christmas Cardreceived many fine pieces of art, many of which were captioned with verses from Scripture. 

One citation that surfaced on a few cards is from St. Luke’s Infancy Narrative: “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.’” (Luke 2:10)
What an appropriate message for each of us to reflect upon this Christmas.  We should give careful attention to this angelic proclamation that offers such hope and heavenly happiness to all people. Fear, bad news and division seem to be having their way in our world today.  In the midst of such darkness, we remember that there is no reason to be afraid because God brings Good News of great joy for all of God’s people through His Son, born of Mary.

“Do not be afraid.”  I need not provide a list of serious concerns that today cause so many to fear what tomorrow may bring.  No matter the heartache, this is a season of hope and joy.

Jesus is the One who rescues humanity from sin and delivers us from the condition of alienation from God. With His birth, the Christ Child brings an unfathomable gift that we must unwrap to enjoy. 

He brings salvation to all humanity.  But in order to enjoy the salvation won for us, our personal encounter with Jesus must be tended to through a lifelong journey of love and service. 

Just a few weeks ago, I consecrated the Diocese of Ogdensburg to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. We know that Mary submitted humbly and totally to God’s will, even without fully understanding it.
By saying “yes” to God’s mysterious will, she enabled salvation to enter the world through the birth of her Son. 

We must tug at her sleeve, she who desires so much to lead us, all of us, to Jesus.  We want to follow Jesus.   Christ-led and Christ-fed, we can be hope-filled and not weighed down by the menace of evil. 

As we celebrate the birth of our Savior and greet a New Year, let us unwrap the gift of salvation offered by making Mary’s words our own: “Let it be done to me according to thy word.”

May the Christ Child bring you and your loved ones the Gift of Love, the Blessing of Hope and the Promise of Peace.  A blessed Christmas and joy-filled New Year!

Faithfully yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Terry R. LaValley
Bishop of Ogdensburg

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