I consider holy seasons like Advent and Christmas to be God’s special gift to us
human beings. Nobody can put the same level of effort continuously for 365 days.
God knows that we are weak. Therefore, He gives us privileged times such as Advent
and Christmas. The better our Advent preparation, the better will be our Christmas.
Because of Jesus human beings are remade in the image and likeness of God. Jesus
is God’s love and mercy incarnate. The anniversary of his birth invites us to remove
from our lives all that stands as an obstacle to the spiritual birth of Christ in
The spiritual birth of Christ in the soul is brought about by facing our inner emptiness
and acknowledging that it can only be filled by God. We prepare ourselves by regularly
setting aside time for silence and stillness we associate with the night of his
human birth, letting solitude keep us open and receptive in the presence of God.
We reflect the light of Christ into the world by giving ourselves throughout the
year, serving the poor and homeless, being patient with our community members and
support staff, taking time for a little kindness to others.
During the holy seasons of Advent and Christmas as you engage yourselves in different
apostolates and activities connected with these holy seasons, I hope you will set
apart time to reflect on the mystery expressed in this mahavakya of the Bible: “For
God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes
in Him may not perish but may have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).
Jesus is God’s gift to us. And Jesus gave himself totally to his Father and to his
brothers and sisters. I am sure, just as Jesus gifted himself to God and others,
we too would like to give ourselves totally to God and others. To God we will give
our love in prayer and to his people our love in service.
I think it was St. Francis of Assisi who said that during Christmas even the walls
should be fed with good food. Let the joy of Christmas flood your heart and soul
and may it overflow from there to the people you interact with. I know that at Christmas
time Priests and Religious have much to do. Try to practice what St. Paul asked
the Colossians to do: “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the
name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col 3:17).
Let us ask Our Heavenly Father to give us an outpouring of the Holy Spirit so that
we may grasp the mystery of God’s love revealed in Christmas, that Jesus Christ
is the embodiment of God’s love and mercy! May the Holy Spirit that has been poured
into our hearts make our love fruitful in service! I wish each one of you a Holy
Advent and a very Happy Christmas!
Most Rev. Raphy Manjaly
Bishop of Allahabad