Archbishop Shelton’s Christmas Message

Record Photo by Marnie McAllister, stained glass at Holy Family Church

In these final days of the Advent season and as we prepare now to celebrate anew the joy of the fast-approaching Christmas Day and the Christmas season, please know that I wish for all the promise and hope of Christmas. Merry Christmas!!!

There are so many wonderful things that are familiar and sentimental about Christmas, but amidst all that may be familiar to us about Christmas, I do pray that we all encounter a new sense of joy that brings us into deeper relationship with Jesus, who was born at Bethlehem as our Emmanuel, “God with us.”

A new experience of joy for me during this Christmas season will be the fact that this will be my first Christmas serving here in the Archdiocese of Louisville, and I am truly looking forward to gathering and celebrating with the faithful of the archdiocese.

Many have asked me about my plans for Christmas, and if I would be returning to Louisiana at any point during the Christmas holidays. All expressed a hope that I would be able to find time to get back to Louisiana to see family and friends. I am deeply grateful for this concern and hope for me at Christmas.

While I will be in Louisville for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I have indeed been able to schedule a trip back to Louisiana to visit with family and friends after Christmas Day and into the first days of the new year. So, I will be seeing my friends and family in the Bayou State over the holidays.

In the church calendar, the Christmas season begins Christmas Day and concludes with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which occurs in early January. Therefore the Christmas season extends into the beginning of the month of January. As you may know, in ancient Roman mythology Janus was the god of “new beginnings.”

In mythology, Janus is depicted as having two faces: one that faced backward to the past and one that faced forward to the future. It is easy to understand, therefore, why the month of January was named for Janus since the month occurs at the beginning of each new calendar year.

The month of January is the “hinge” between the old year that was and the new year that will be.

Because it falls at the beginning of each new year, the month of January is indeed an opportunity to celebrate new beginnings, fresh starts and renewed opportunities. We all know and believe that there is no greater renewed opportunity given to us by God than Jesus Christ, the Son of the living and true God.

In the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, God the Father wonderfully set into motion his plan to renew all creation in Jesus Christ.

In Jesus Christ, the Father has given to us a new opportunity to live the reality of his love by healing through Jesus Christ the woundedness and division our sin has caused in our relationship with the Father.

Therefore, yesterday, today and forever, it is to Jesus Christ that we run, knowing that he holds the past, the present and the future in his loving hands.

As we again embark upon a New Year, at the very beginning of the year, let us together entrust our journey through 2023 to Jesus Christ, pledging to do our best to remain faithful to him every day of the new year and always. A blessed and Happy New Year to all!

January is indeed a month of new beginnings. I pray that during the month of January, you also will find renewed hope and stronger trust and faith in God. In Jesus Christ, God the Father has bound himself to us in the past, present and future by a bond that cannot be broken.

This is certainly a reason to have renewed faith and trust as we embark upon a New Year with fresh hope.

I pray that the coming days of the Christmas season, the final days of December 2022 and the coming month of January 2023 are a time of renewed hope for you, and that you have a Blessed Christmas and know a New Year filled with joy and peace! Thank you for your enduring faith!

The Record
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