No one can celebrate
a genuine Christmas
without being truly poor.
The self-sufficient, the proud,Candle reflecting
those who, because they have
everything, look down on others,
those who have no need
even of God–for them there
will be no Christmas.
Only the poor, the hungry,
those who need someone
to come on their behalf,
will have that someone.
That someone is God.
Emmanuel. God-with-us.
Without poverty of spirit
there can be no abundance of God.

~Archbishop Oscar Romero

It is at precisely this time–this time of struggle, suffering, insecurity and anxiety in our nation’s history–that we need to hear the promise of Christmas. We know that this child born 2,000 years ago is indeed, Emmanuel–“God-with-us”–God with the oppressed, God with the suffering, God with the impoverished, God with the helpless. And because God IS with us, we carry a light that no person or institution can dim.

For her Christmas day reflection, Diane Lopez Hughes, author of our Advent-Christmas 2011 reflection booklet, writes:

Glory to God on high! This long-awaited gift to humankind is the greatest we will ever know: our beloved savior has come to free us from death. New life brings new hope… Where there is hope, there IS life. With that hope must come a commitment to address the many injustices faced by disenfranchised sisters and brothers; to work for equity in our institutions; to act in nonviolent ways to face the violence in our communities, nation, and world–or hope is just an empty word.

For all you do to incarnate hope in our world, we thank you. May you have a beautiful, peaceful Christmas!

In peace,

Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN, Executive Director
and all of the national staff of Pax Christi USA

PS: Click here to read a reflection on the lectionary readings for Christmas from Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB.

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