Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In the countryside, the angels appeared to the Shepherds during the night and said, “Do not be afraid. Listen, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people...” (Luke 2:10)
It is with great joy that we welcome Jesus into our homes and hearts this Christmas. God’s greatest gift, our Lord Jesus, is a gift to be shared. How can we share Jesus with others? By putting God first in our lives each day and connecting our Catholic faith to our every-day thoughts, words and actions.
Jesus is God’s word made flesh, but God speaks to us also through His Creation, the Earth in which we live.
St Francis had recognised nature as God’s beautiful book, which speaks to us of God’s goodness. Human beings are connected to nature, and in showing respect for our environment, we are also showing respect for human life and God himself.
This Christmas, let us look beyond all the festivities and holiday trappings and focus on sharing Jesus with others through gifts which lift the human spirit and help protect God’s Creation. Let us think about the origin of the gifts we purchase and aim to give experiences rather than material items.
For example, we can give tickets to a concert, art event or family activity. We can purchase gifts that support a charity. We can also give the most special gift of all – the gift of our time – to loved ones and those in need, bringing Jesus to birth through acts of kindness and humility. By reaching out to others, we can be the arms and legs of Jesus on Earth!
Going forward into the New Year, we can make small changes in our everyday habits. We can turn off lights when we leave a room, switch off computers when not in use and limit our use of aircon.
We can bring our own eco-friendly bags to the grocery store for food shopping rather than relying on plastic bags, which harm animals and pollute the environment.
We can make it a habit to bring our own water bottle to work, school and when moving around town to avoid purchasing bottled water. We can avoid using Styrofoam, which is a hazard to the environment. We can drive less, especially to and from Mass, and walk more, or use public transportation.
Every little bit helps, and if we each focus on doing our own small part, we can make a difference in caring for God’s beautiful Creation.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, may the blessing of God’s Creation be with you all. Let us pray for those impacted by climate change and for the strength to make the changes needed in our own lives to care for the world God gave us.
Peace be with you this Christmas and a blessed New Year ahead. Go forth and bring Jesus to birth this Christmas. Be His arms and legs on this Earth to help make the world a better place for all humankind!
Yours devotedly in Christ,
Archbishop Nicholas Chia