Please read my Christmas Message below, but first, can you guess what my favorite toy was as a kid?
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Newborn Christ,
Merry Christmas to all of you in Northeast Texas and beyond! In the Diocese of Tyler, 2014 has been a blessed year. Because of your prayers, support and generosity, we have been able to spread the good news of Jesus Christ with more people, strengthen the ministries to our Catholic community, support our seminarians and priests, and increase our charitable works to those in need.
The prophet Habakkuk wrote, “But the LORD is in his holy temple; silence before him, all the earth!” (Hab 2:20). This is the basis for the ancient Christian hymn, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, which has been sung by the Church since at least 275 AD.
As we celebrate this holy season with great joy and exultation, I also ask each one of you to heed the words of this ancient text and become silent before the Lord - even for just a moment.
In that brief silence, “ponder nothing earthly minded” as the hymn says, but reflect on the true wonder and glory of God himself becoming man and walking the earth with us. This great mystery, the Incarnation, is at the heart of our Catholic faith – the King of kings and the Lord of lords took on flesh and blood and became man.
In our mortal state, we can never fully appreciate the magnitude of this great event upon which all of human history hinges. But we can offer praise and gratitude to the Lord for the gift of Himself - that gift which came in a manger, a trough for feeding animals, and which is the very same gift on which we, the faithful, feed as the heavenly food we receive at Holy Mass.
In this same moment of silence, join with the Angles who looking at that baby with holy fear and trembling cried out, “Alleluia, Lord Most High!”
I impart my blessing to each of you and your families during this Christmas season and I wish you peace, happiness and holiness in 2015.
+ Joseph E. Strickland
Bishop of Tyler