Tuesday, December 25, 2018 - Updated: 11:59 pm
Dec. 21, 2018
My dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
On Light Up Night, our community supported, larger-than-life Pittsburgh Crèche opened for viewing once again. Stunningly beautiful, it stands at the foot of the US Steel Tower, where thousands of children each year bring their families to pay homage to the Baby Jesus.
There, surrounded by adoring kings and shepherds, nestled on a bed of clean, dry straw, serenaded by angels, barn animals and camels, lies the Savior of the World. I never tire of seeing it, and of pausing to offer a prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus!,” again and again and again.
But this year, with all the challenges you and I are facing as a 21st-century church On Mission!, I have been thinking a lot about the Holy Family’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Imagine walking in sandals, holding the reins of a small donkey, 70 miles through sand in the unforgiving winter. Then imagine what it would be like for a woman pregnant in her ninth month, about to deliver her baby, riding atop that donkey.
Their journey On Mission! from Nazareth to Bethlehem wasn’t pretty or as comfortable as we see it in our beautiful Pittsburgh Crèche.
But our crèche reminds us of the bright side to this enduring Christmas story. Mary and Joseph persevered through the rough patches. They prayed together. As parents, Mary and Joseph were sustained and strengthened by God’s grace. On the journey, and once again back home in Nazareth, they grew to learn Jesus, to love Jesus and to live Jesus.
What was true for them is meant to be true for us. The bright side of the Christmas story can break through our dark moments. But we must let the light of Christ break through, as did Mary and Joseph.
This Christmas season we need to pray for each other: for our families, our communities, our nation and our church. But especially, we need to remember to pray for the strangers among us who, like the Holy Family, have no place to call home.
Along with Bishop Waltersheid and Bishop Winter, I wish you a blessed Christmas. May your Christmas be filled with quiet peace. And joy, too!
Grateful for our continued efforts together in being On Mission for The Church Alive!, and for our belief that “Nothing is Impossible with God,” I am
Your brother in Christ,
Most Reverend David A. Zubik
Bishop of Pittsburgh