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God, who is in your midst, takes great delight in you!

Bishop Peter's Christmas message from the December 17 issue of the Idaho Catholic Register.

“Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged! The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; he will rejoice over you with gladness and renew you in his love, he will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals.” (Zephaniah 3:16-18)

This was the first reading read at all the Masses around the world this past Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent. As I was reflecting on it, I couldn’t help but be amazed at the image of God being so pleased with His people that He sings joyfully because of them. This passage from the Prophet Zephaniah echoes the Psalmist who in Psalm 149:4 says, “The Lord takes delight in His people.”

It is sometimes hard to imagine, or come close to comprehending, such a love that the God of the Universe has for all of humanity; for each one of us! Can you hear these words as God speaks them, as they are meant to be spoken to your heart: “The Lord takes delight in you!”

As we all know, words take on fuller meaning when they have actions that give flesh to the truth of the word as it was intended. This love of God for each of us couldn’t be more true by the very fact that our God not only speaks of His love for humanity, but shows us just how much He loves us, as we are soon to celebrate on Christmas. How amazingly present God has become to the entire world; an infant, as one like us, born into our midst: so sweet, so vulnerable, so approachable for all to behold.

The infant, soon to grow fully as a man, will do what God the Father intended for His Son. He will shepherd His people back to the original dignity that God intended for each of us to enjoy. He renews creation, He renews humanity, and we, in turn, give thanks and praise for such a loving Savior. Our spirits, our souls, our very being come more fully alive knowing that we are so deeply loved by our God.

He only asks that we Remain in Him, as He Remains in Us. We seek our God out in our daily lives, as He seeks us out during every moment of our lives. In doing so we are given an amazing awareness in this life – that we are truly loved now, in this life, as, then, promised to be with God forever in Heaven.

Let’s worship Christ, the Baby Son of God who comes among us in every moment. Let us honor Him, thank Him, accept Him and make room for Him as He is meant to be lived within us always.

From the day of His birth, to His ministry of teaching, healing and leading us closer to the Kingdom of God, to His death that frees us from our sin, and to His resurrection that proves life continues beyond the grave, Jesus takes us to where He is – one with his Father who is now our Father. We can’t help but be grateful, returning to Him the gift of our thanks and praise.

My brothers and sisters, a new day is coming. We will soon be renewed by God’s love for us. When we welcome His love into our hearts we will know, without a doubt, that Our Lord takes great delight in His people; for each of us belong to Him and will be with Him forever.

Our God will be in our midst! A mighty savior, He will rejoice over each of us with gladness and renew us in His love. He will sing joyfully because of who we are – truly as He made us, His sons and daughters forever.

This is what Christmas not only tells us, but gives witness to us in the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Merry Christmas!


If you enjoyed this story and would like to read more like it, please consider buying a subscription to the Idaho Catholic Register. Your $20 yearly subscription also supports the work of the Diocese of Boise Communications Department, which includes not only the newspaper, but this website, social media posts and videos. You can subscribe here, or through your parish, or send a check to 1501 S. Federal Way, Boise, ID, 83705: or call 208-350-7554 to leave a credit card payment. Thank you, and God bless you.

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