Bishop Mark Hanson: A Christmas Message

I greet you with these words from Luke (2:12): 'This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.'

You will find a child -- a child. This year, the Christmas story is inseparable from our deep sorrow for the children of Newtown, all who died and all who mourn.

We can make no sense of such violence, so we cry out for mercy. And God hears our pleas. God responds with words of promise saying, 'I am with you. I am with you in Jesus, the child lying in a manger. I am with you in Jesus who has bourn your grief. I am with you in Jesus on the Cross and risen from the dead.

God's promise is (that) nothing in all creation will separate you from God's love in Jesus. So amidst the unspeakable, we can join the angel choir singing, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace.'

Because our hope is in Christ, we can rejoice in the wonder of Jesus' birth. I wish you a blessed Christmas."

Mark S. Hanson

Presiding Bishop

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 


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