Bishop John Michael’s Christmas message
“Fear not, little flock.” So go the words of Jesus which I chose as the motto for my episcopal ministry twenty-one years ago from the Gospel of St. Luke (Luke 12:32). Perhaps, now, a fitting response to my motto is, “Why not? We live in frightening times!” And indeed, the world seems a scarier place than it did this time last year, or even six months ago, or perhaps even last week, as we tumble headlong into a kind of national and global chaos, unfamiliar to us and full of foreboding and dread. And there is no lack of “principalities and powers” (Ephesians 6:12) willing and able to feed off of our fear, to make use of it in ways that seem to threaten the very existence of the human race.
In this season of long nights and cold days, I find it comforting to remember these words of the Master as he advised His disciples to depend totally on God. We cannot look to the unstable, transitory powers of this world to provide us with the security we need to live a life worthy of the name “human.” Instead, we need look no further than a simple manger in a dark cave in Bethlehem for the answer to all of our questions and the solution to all of our problems.
But we must look for ourselves; no one can gaze into the manger for us and see what we would see. Still, this much is certain: that Manger is not empty. When we look into it, it is the very eyes of God looking back at us with unconditional love and everlasting mercy. He says we are safe with Him, and I believe it. May you know the security and peace that comes from knowing Jesus this Christmas.