A Message from 

The Most Reverend Patrick C. Pinder, S.T.D.

Archbishop of Nassau

 

Christmas 2016

 

Time passes quickly it is hard to believe we are already celebrating Christmas once again, but we are.  The message of this feast and this season is a very comforting one.  It does not vary.  It is a message of hope.  It is a message of joy.  It is a message which defies the gloom of the moment and lifts our thoughts and our spirits as we hear again the words of the prophet and the words of the angel:  "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwell in the land of gloom a light has shone."  Isaiah 9:1

Darkness can visit us in many forms as we know so well.  It is always an uninvited guest yet it can make itself present, unannounced and in an instant.  We had our share of it this year when Hurricane Matthew left its devastating effects on a number of islands of The Bahamas.  The light which guides us through the darkness comes in the form of Good News.  The Gospel of Luke has an angel deliver it in these words:  "Do not be afraid for behold I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all people.  For today in the city of David a saviour has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord." Luke 2:10ff

The birth of this Saviour is the source and foundation of all our hope.  This good news is what keeps us firm when faced with the many shades and shadows of darkness which visit us. The great 5th Century bishop, Augustine, knew this well thus he could write:  "Scripture does not say that he will not allow you to be tried but that he will not allow you to be tried beyond your strength. Whatever the trial he will see you through it safely and so enable you to endure. God is faithful and will guard both your going in and your coming out."

For us in this child that was born something very significant has happened.  In the words of St. Paul, "... the grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly and devoutly in this age." (Titus 2:11-12)

The very human presence of God has occurred.  Our God is a person, Jesus the Christ.  He shared our world, our human condition, knew our struggles, even knew our temptations.  He was like us in all things but sin and He has bestowed on us a dignity beyond measure.

So when all the festivities and decorations of Christmas are behind us that is when the true work of Christmas begins.  And that work is:

 - To find the lost

 - To heal the broken

 - To feed the hungry

 - To visit the sick and imprisoned

 - To make peace where there is discord

 - To bring joy to every heart

 - To do all we can to build our family, our community, our nation into a community of caring, compassionate and concerned persons.  Then we know the significance of the words, "Joy to the world the Lord has come!"