To Our Reverend Clergy,  Reverend Religious,  Seminarians, and Faithful,  Christ is Born! 

Once again, we  Ukrainian Catholics recall  with affection and  devotion the Birth of our  Lord, God and Savior,  Jesus Christ. “The Word  was made flesh and dwelt  among us: and we have  seen His Glory, the Glory  of the only Son coming  from the Father” (Jn, 1,14). 

Once again, our merciful  Lord brings us to the Feast  of the Nativity giving us  another occasion to greet  one another with His  praises.

Once again we  give thanks for you to the  Lord God and rejoice with  you on this solemn Day.  Christmas is a very  visible sign of God’s love  for us. The cave, the  manger, the swaddling  clothes - - all these are  signs which underline that (continued on next page)  great love. And the angels  sang: “Glory to God in  the highest, and on earth  peace among men of  good will” (Lk 2,14).  Within the bosom  of each believer Jesus  Christ, the God-Man,  seeks a modern-day  manger where - - if we  allow Him - - He brings  the radiance of His  Presence and an  assurance of His peace  that surpasses all  understanding.

Even in the  midst of our hectic lives  and troublesome world,  we recall the tender  compassion of our Father:  “God so loved the World  that He sent His only  begotten Son” to share in  our human situation in  every way possible, save  sin. Not for us, a God who  “watches from a distance!”  He is our Emmanuel —  “God-with-us” — who  enlightens the world and  brings rays of healing for  those who receive Him into  the manger of their hearts.  The mystery and  the miracle of Christmas  are unfathomable. Christ-  God became also human  like us out of love for us.  St. Paul the Apostle says   “God’s grace appeared  for the salvation of all  people” (Ti 2,11). Jesus  Christ is God’s great gift  to us. God gives Himself  and becomes like us. In  His public ministry, Jesus  taught very clearly that His  love is for everyone.

As  He loved us, so we must  love one another, says  Jesus.  Christ was born for  each and every one of us,  so we acknowledge this  great grace personally. But  Christmas is also for  everyone, so we celebrate  it communally.

Our  Ukrainian Church and  nation have developed  such meaningful servicesand traditions to help us  celebrate. How sad it  would be to miss them.  Remember Christmas is  always special because on  Christmas Eve everyone is  involved. The Christmas  Eve Holy Supper includes  everyone, the traveler is  seated with the family, the  absent are remembered,  even the animals are paid  special attention, and in  church the “God-is-withus”  lingers with us and  soothes our soul. “Today,  let us rejoice together.” 

Let us all rejoice on  this great Feast of  Christmas. Let us show  Jesus our love for being  born for our salvation.    Make of your life a holy  hymn - - a “psalm of  thanks” to God for all  things by your every word  and deed. Do this day by  day and you will be able  to say ever more sincerely:  “Christ is born, let us glorify  Him!” 

We, your bishops,  extend our best wishes to  you and to our sisters and  brothers in Ukraine and  the world over. May the  Infant of Bethlehem raise  His hands over you and  bless you. May the  goodness and kindness of  the Christ Child fill your  souls with new-born love  and joy now and in the  New Year. 

Christ is Born! Let us  glorify Him! 

+Stefan Soroka  Metropolitan-Archbishop  of Philadelphia  +Richard Seminack  Eparch of St. Nicholas in  Chicago  +Paul ChomnyckyOSBM  Eparch of Stamford  +John Bura (author)  Apostolic Administrator  of St. Josaphat in Parma  Christmas, 2011  Christmas

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