With the Mass of the Fourth Sunday of Advent we are entering the last days of the Advent season. Soon the Masses for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will be upon us, and then the entire joyful season of the birth of the Lord. The Church’s liturgy in these days calls us to rejoice and live the birth of Christ in this entire season. St. Leo the Great says for this day, “Dearly beloved, today our Savior is born; let us rejoice. Sadness should have no place in the birthday of life. The fear of death has been swallowed up; life brings us joy with the promise eternal happiness.”
Some of the Christmas music for this season speaks in such evocative words as “Love Came Down at Christmas” or “You Came Down from the Stars.” All of this points to a translation of the meaning of the Incarnation, which would say that “God has pitched His tent among us.”
The celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord is about the gift of salvation, and a reminder that God is far off, at a distance, but has come among us in His Son, who knows our joys and sorrows and all moments of our lives. Emmanuel—God is indeed with us!
I personally want to wish all of you, and your loved ones, a most blessed season in all of your travels and festivities. I pray that the Lord will show his presence in surprising and unexpected ways to you in this holy season, especially where and when it is most needed!
Thank you for your sacrifice and generosity in countless ways, and for all you do and are in our local Church.
The Most Reverend Kevin W. Vann
Bishop of Orange