Each year, we have that dream again of a world of love and peace and yet we live in a world marked by violence. Daily images of war and desolation must not make us forget that our world is also marked by gestures of solidarity, love and compassion. These two faces of our world are more visible than ever today. Attacks kill dozens, wars are forcing thousands of people to flee under the bombs in search of a place where they can live in peace. On the other hand, gestures of solidarity and compassion are both present even if they do not make headlines.

Christmas yet evokes in us a sense of solidarity and compassion. Charity drives invite us to share. These gestures of solidarity are now multiplying in an effort to welcome refugees in our communities and to help those fleeing war find comfort among us.

Christmas reminds us each year that God came among us under the sign of poverty and destitution. The Gospels tell us that Jesus, at the very moment of his birth, finds himself on the side of this huge crowd of men and women who do not have their place in society.

At Christmas, we wish for joy that reflects and nourishes our commitment to the triumph of love, justice and peace around us. Guided by the One who came to earth to reveal God’s love, we can be fully human when we allow God to lead us beyond ourselves − even to our truest selves. This is where true joy, the joy promised by God, becomes possible.

On the occasion of Christmas, I wish you to experience the joy which lives within us when we place our lives in service to others. By sharing the wish of a Merry Christmas, we state our desire to work together at building a world through which the light of God will shine.

Merry Christmas