Archbishop Richard Smith

Archbishop Richard Smith

December 29, 2014
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I am very pleased to greet you during this most holy season of Christmas, when Christians the world over celebrate the birth from Mary of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. This is an astounding, breathtaking mystery – God has become a human being, one of us.

We call this the Incarnation, the taking on of human flesh by God. In Jesus, God comes to us to save us from our sins and restore us to life with himself. As wondrous as this is, and much has been written and preached about it over the centuries, I like to sum up this mystery of the Incarnation in three simple words: God is here.

No longer should we consider ourselves alone, left to our own devices, struggling without help to bear our burdens, which are sometimes crushing in their weight. No. God is here. He entered human history on that first Christmas night over 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem. And he remains with us now.

Before Jesus returned to the Father after his resurrection he promised to remain with his Church until the end of time. So not only did he enter history at his birth, but also he enters our individual and personal histories today by the gift of his Holy Spirit dwelling within us. God is here. Be free, then, of all worry and anxiety.

Now, although in Jesus Christ, God has drawn near to us, nevertheless experience teaches that we have a tendency to draw away from God. We do this every time we make a decision for self-reliance, which leads inevitably to darkness and confusion, to heartache and pain, to separation and division.

What ensues from a decision to rely on ourselves in all things is a deep sense of anxiety, sometimes despair, as we face the difficulties and challenges of life: loneliness, illness, unemployment or the fear of it, family tension and so on.

Christmas reminds us that we are simply not alone, that we do not have to rely on ourselves, and, indeed, ought not to do so. God is here. He has come to us precisely as Saviour, to free us from all that weighs us down, above all the burden of sin, so that we might have life, now and for eternity.

My prayer for you and your families is that you will know the peace that Christ came to give us, his very own peace, a peace that arises from complete trust in the love, mercy, wisdom and providence of our heavenly Father.

Let's make a decision this Christmas to forgo self-reliance and to place all our trust and hope in God's love, a love that never fails us, a love that has come to us in Jesus Christ, born of Mary. God is here. Let us turn to him daily and rejoice in his saving help.