Let no worries obscure the main one, so that we may always be on the way to Jesus! Become God’s children, that is, people who unconditionally trust God! Celebrating Christmas means welcoming the Baby Jesus with your heart and trusting him completely. I wish you such celebration, and I pray for it! – wrote Bishop Wiesław Lechowicz, Delegate of the Polish Bishops’ Conference for the Polish Emigration, in his Christmas greeting to the Polish Community abroad. The Bishop also asked for prayers for the Homeland and the Church in Poland.
Full text of the wishes:
Wishes of Bishop, Wiesław Lechowicz
Delegate of the Polish Bishops’ Conference for Polish Emigration
Christmas – 2020
„In the world, there was the Word
And the world came to be through him,
But the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own
But his own people did not accept him.
But to those who did accept him
He gave them the power to become children of God”
Dear compatriots, brothers and sisters!
I have always addressed my hearty wishes to you on the occasion of Christmas and the New Year. These wishes were accompanied by prayer and vivid memories of meeting many of you in the places where you are living. It is the same this time, but the circumstances caused by the pandemic intensify even more my wishes, prayers, and feelings towards the Polish community abroad and its priests. I try to feel in your position, filled with sadness because of the inability to encounter Jesus during the liturgy and often with your loved ones at the festive table. I share my sorrow with the priests who are significantly limited, in the ministry of the Word and especially in the sacramental service, are significantly limited by the mandatory restrictions. However, let us not be sad as are those who lack faith and hope. May experiencing Christmas away from the churches or from our beloved ones allow us to appreciate even more what we owe to Jesus born in Bethlehem – the possibility of meeting Him in the community of the Church. Let him awaken in us the longing that comes from the love for God and for other people.
The example of Jesus’ parents, Mary and Joseph, helps us to live the mystery of the birth of the Son of God in a mature and profound way. They lived in a world which, as St. John wrote in the Prologue to the Gospel, „did not know” the Word made flesh. The Messiah and Savior announced by the prophets „came to his own,” and „his own”, that is, his countrymen, did not accept Him. It is not difficult to see the analogy of that world with the world we live in today. „Dark clouds over a closed world”—this is the title that Pope Francis gave to the first chapter of the Encyclical Fratelli tutti, in which he analyzes the current changes of civilization. We see in the modern world, how people are closed to others, but also to Christ and His Good News. We also notice these trends in our homeland and in our families at home and abroad.
However, Mary and Joseph did not succumb to the dominant atmosphere of disbelief and doubt. Despite understandable hesitations and questions, they responded positively to God’s word and God’s promises. They did not doubt even when, after the birth of the Child Jesus, fearing for his life, they were told first to emigrate to Egypt, and then to return not to Bethlehem but to Nazareth. By trusting God, they saved Jesus from deadly danger.
The life of the Holy Family in Nazareth was also not free from tests of faith. Yet, not only did Jesus grow in age and wisdom alongside his parents, but his parents also grew in faith and wisdom. They increasingly understood who Jesus was – the announced and awaited Messiah, but not as imagined by the generations of Israelites. „The world did not know him,” but they received him and knew him.
I would like to wish you all this attitude towards Jesus who is born. Regardless of the fact that many do not accept Jesus or treat Him more and more indifferently, you, welcome the Child Jesus with open arms and make efforts to get to know Him better and better. When you come to know Jesus more closely, you will discover the truthfulness of the words of St. John, who writes that all who receive Jesus receive strength. We cannot forget about this at a time when the pandemic weakens not only our physical but also spiritual strength, when we are so weakened, we lose our vigilance and sense of orientation in the cultural, social, and political turmoil. What is happening in us and around us proves that we are not self-sufficient, „we need the Lord like ancient navigators needed the stars” (Pope Francis). Therefore, entrust your anxieties to him, because only God can draw good from the bad and unhappy events in our lives, with which we are unable to deal.
The power with which Emmanuel comes to us makes us „become children of God.” „To be a child of God—writes St. Edith Stein—means putting yourself into God’s hands, doing His will, placing your worries and your hopes in God’s hands. The words ‚Your will be done’ should become the standard of life for a Christian, they should regulate the course of the day from morning to evening and be our main thought. God will take care of all our worries, but this one alone will be ours as long as we live because we can never be sure that we are on the way that leads to Him.”
I wish you, brothers and sisters, such strength of faith. Let no worries obscure the main one, so that we may always be on the way to Jesus! Become God’s children, that is, people who unconditionally trust God! Celebrating Christmas means welcoming the Baby Jesus with your heart and trusting him completely. I wish you such a celebration, and I pray for it!
I am asking you to send kind thoughts in the form of prayers to our homeland and the Church in Poland among the wishes made during this holiday season.
Lord Jesus Christ,
You who are our peace,
You who broke down the wall of hostility that separates people,
You who make distant people close,
You who made hostility die in yourself!
Please, also eliminate any hostility within us!
Enlighten the eyes of our hearts so that we stop seeing each other as opponents but rather as fellow household members, in your home and also in this house called Poland.
For the Christmas season and with wishes for a blessed New Year, receive the pastoral blessing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Bishop Wiesław Lechowicz
Delegate of the Polish Bishops’ Conference for Polish Emigration