Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s message for Christmas 2022
It’s all very personal, folks!
Please, do take it personal!
I’m talking about the mystery and meaning of Christmas.
We often consider God as totally – beyond – us, way – up – there, completely other, incomprehensible, unapproachable. We’re right: the omnipotent, omniscient, ineffable God of existence is in one way out of our realm of comprehension.
But . . . He has also revealed Himself as closer to us than we are to ourselves, personally, passionately, eternally, head-over-heels in love with us. The Bible is His “love letter” to us, and He gets very personal.
This Lord revealed Himself to His beloved chosen people of Israel, our neighbors these days celebrating the “Feast of Lights.” He whispered to them that, yes, He was the thundering God of the universe, who does not want strange, false Gods to be worshipped, because, well, He’s jealous! His love for us is so passionate, personal, eternal, that He wants us all for Himself!
This one, true God tell us He is our Father, our shepherd, our lover, our friend,
our defender, our advocate. Nothing distant, clinical, cerebral about it. This is all very
For us who claim to be Christians, it gets literal: this God actually becomes one-
of-us, Emmanuel, “God-is-with-us”; He has a name, Jesus, which means “Savior”; He
has a mother, Mary, and an earthly, foster father, Joseph – – His real Father is God – –
as He is true God and true man.
It gets more down-to-earth: this Jesus does not show-up as an adult, but as a
baby, born of a woman, placed in a crib, in a little town called Bethlehem. Our God is so
close, so personal, so available, He can be picked up and hugged, held and embraced.
Forget the incomprehensible stuff.
From the days of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses, God has wanted to transform us, to bring us closer to Him, to claim us as His own.
Boy, did He ever accomplish that on Christmas morning!
As a young priest, I knew a teenager, “Bart,” who was really messed-up: beer,
drugs, school-drop-out, runaway, arrests. I worked closely with him, but we lost touch
when I was transferred.
Ten years or so later, now in a new parish, a UPS man shows-up at the door
Christmas eve morning with a package. It was Bart! We recognized each other, smiled,
“Bart,” I ask, “how have things worked out?”
“Father Tim,” he replied, “you don’t have to worry about me anymore! I’m
married and I got a little baby boy. My life’s in order.”
This baby, born on Christmas, sure makes God very personal. We better get our
lives in order.
A blessed Christmas!
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