Central New York Bishops’ Ecumenical Christmas Message

God’s Work. Human Hands.

That’s really what this Christmas celebration is all about.

It’s the time of year when Christians proclaim to the world that the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God who created the world became a human being born of a woman named Mary. His name was Jesus of Nazareth. His life was a message from God. A message that spoke of God’s love and salvation, God’s healing power and grace, God’s peace and hope. Jesus lived to remind the world of God’s presence in our midst. Jesus’ self-giving love invites us to follow him by doing God’s work through human hands.

This same message is proclaimed to the world each and every time someone carries on the work of love, grace, mercy and compassion that marked Jesus’ life on earth. Such serving does not often make the headlines, but it happens in acts of faithful living every day. Parents provide for their children and teach them to care about others. Volunteers welcome immigrant families and help them to get jobs, learn English and acclimate to their new environment. Youth and adults use their vacation time to travel to New Orleans to rebuild homes and clean up parks as part of the ongoing disaster response to hurricane Katrina. Soldiers offer stuffed animals as gifts to children in war-torn countries. A friend stops by a hospital, nursing home or prison to visit. These acts of kindness and compassion help to create peace and hope in a world that needs it. These actions remind us that the spirit of Jesus lives on in us.

During this Christmas season and throughout the year we pray that the world will be blessed with a sense of God’s peace and hope. And we invite you to join us in spreading the good news of God’s love through human hands.

The Right Rev. Gladstone B. Adams, The Episcopal Church in the Diocese of CNY

The Rev. Dr. Marie Jerge, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Reverend Marcus Matthews, New York West Area, United Methodist Church

Most Rev. Robert J. Cunningham, Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse