Beloved in the Lord;

The time has come: Christ is born! The creation kneels by the cradle of the Creator. Let us bring all our wealth to lay at His feet. 

Let us bring the wealth of our griefs, our defeated ambitions, our tears. He will receive them as so much gold. 

Let us bring to Him our poverty, our anxiety, our worry in the long hours of the night, and let Him enfold them in His peace.

He has demanded all we that we have as His due homage, and has promised to seize it by the power of His grace.  

So do not worry that you cannot even carry all that is yours: your sins, your hopelessness, your fear. Already He is stooping to ease the burden from your shoulders. Already He sets your hands free from bearing the load.  

Christ is born that we might be re-born; the One who made us now makes us anew.  

He only desires that we give Him all that we are and all that we have: our terror and our pride, our hates and our jealousies, our weariness and our resignation.  

As often as we offer them, He takes all into His heart of love.  He forgives, heals, purifies.  

And what He gives us back is our true selves, made in God's image, restored in Christ's likeness, filled with the Holy Spirit, joined forever to the Life of the Trinity.

So let us receive this gift with joy! Let the bells of our churches and the voices of the faithful join with the choirs of angels and saints.  

Let us be filled again with all the gifts of the Christ-Child, and rejoice that we are sent as bearers of His Light into the world.  

What He has given us, let us freely give: justice for the oppressed, hope for the hopeless, peace for the war-torn, rest for the weary. Let us proclaim by our deeds the Incarnation of the Word.

And as we do so may we give thanks for all the blessings of His grace, in this holy season and in every day of the year to come.

Fondly and faithfully your bishop,

(The Right Reverend) Dorsey McConnell, D.D.
Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh
December 24, 2013