This year I deem it appropriate to forward to you our Diocesan Bishop’s
Christmas & New Year’s message. On behalf of Bishop Allotey, with Canon Rayside and our respective families, I wish you a Heartfelt Christmas and a truly Prosperous 2018.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ Jesus,
As the Christmas season begins, celebrate in as many ways as possible the love, joy and hope of the Incarnation with everyone in your life.
Christmas comes, as in every year since the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, in the midst of the world as it is. We who celebrate this feast must make it our mission to relay the Christmas story in our communities where the message of God’s presence among us is so urgently needed.
The outward and visible expressions of Christmas — the cards, the messages, and the gifts – — must carry with them the intangible reality of God’s love and joy expressed not in sentimentality, but in sincerity and truth. Our world desperately needs the counter-message of the unselfish, uncomplicated self-giving of God’s love present in the manger and present in our lives. When so much around us is focused on the greed, the consumption and the self- interest of power and money, the message of Christmas stands powerfully in our lives as an antidote that trumps the sinfulness of our time.
May the message of the Gospel be cherished in your heart and in your words and actions this Christmas! Hold close to those you love, and even closer to those in need and vulnerability.
Celebrate the season of Christmas as a season of unconditional love with God’s vulnerable gift of self in the Christ-child as an example. Breathe deeply the love of God, and share deeply that love with all those around you.
Have a blessed Christmas Season and a holy and safe start to the New Year.
The Rt. Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano Bishop of Long Island