My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
In many ways 2020 has been a difficult year for us. We were faced with many adversities, challenges and uncertainties. The pandemic that plagued the entire world affected us physically, financially, emotionally and spiritually. But Christmas comes just in time to remind us that adversities, vulnerability and uncertainty are the normal experiences of God’s people as we inch towards the Heavenly Kingdom.
Just as Joseph and Mary faced obstacles as they made their way towards Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus, so we too make our way despite the many stumbling blocks that may come our way – a journey that is sometimes strong, sometimes weak, sometimes with faith and sometimes with doubt - but at the end, clinging to the truth that in this particular birth, this particular infant, all God’s good promises are coming to birth in us.
God is with us and shares our human life, the joys and challenges along with our pain and suffering. The word Emmanuel beautifully describes the gift of Christmas - it means ‘God is with us’. This is the main message of Christmas. This is the message we carry for all the world to hear, that God is with us, now and forever, despite whatever adversities come our way.
As we celebrate Christmas this year and bring to mind the birth of Jesus, may our lives be deeply touched by God’s love. As we contemplate the child Jesus who is born, may our hearts be filled with joy. May our prayer also include the desire to share the love and hope of Jesus with the world. Engaging our BECs and parish community, let us explore new and life-giving ways to share the gift of Jesus with others. This is the time when we reach out to those who are in need of our support, care and love, those who are suffering in some way or other.
Let us live the true meaning of Christmas throughout the year by carrying His love into the world. Look at the people you meet. See that Jesus is with them. Give thanks for the gift we are to each other. Our world needs the message of Jesus, His love, His forgiveness, His mercy, His care. Live in the wonder of the gift of Christmas: each of us is loved by God. The power of this gift to transform our world is our hope. Filled with God’s love and hope, may we journey onwards to reveal love incarnate with the world. In the coming year, let’s try with new intensity to share the gift of our Catholic faith with our neighbours.
At this special time of the year, I pray that the message of the Christ-Child would be reborn in our diocese, our parishes, our homes, our hearts and our souls this Christmas. I wish you all peace, joy, health, happiness, blessings and graces for a joyful, fulfilling, meaningful and a happy new year in 2021.
+ Most Reverend Julian Leow Beng Kim, D.D.
Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur
18 December 2020