O come, Desire of nations, bind in one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid thou our sad divisions cease, and be thyself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!
Dear Friends in Christ,
At Christmas we celebrate that the prayer of longing quoted above has been answered in the incarnation of Jesus, son of Mary, Son of God, the Word made flesh. We gather again to hear the story we know so well and to hear the angelic proclamation, “To you this day is born a Savior which is Christ the Lord.” Luke records that, at the delivery of this news to the shepherds, a multitude of heavenly host praised God saying, “Glory to God in the highest and peace to God’s people on earth.”
As believers, we know that Jesus is the author and source of all peace, the peace of God which passes all human understanding. As the apostle Paul writes, “He is our peace who has made us one and broken down the dividing wall of hostility.” What God has done in Christ has broken down all barriers, all divisions, and united us to God the Father, to one another, and to all humanity as brothers and sisters made in the image of God.
The call to us this Christmas is to be agents of God’s unity to a world that has not fully lived into God’s reality. As we make our communion this Christmas, let it be for us truly a coming into union with God and God’s purpose for our life — to be the extension of his Incarnation as the body of Christ, the Church.
Wishing you every Christmas blessing, I am,
Yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Steven Andrew Miller
Bishop of Milwaukee