At Christmas, people of every age and every walk of life celebrate with a profound sense of wonder, joy, and gratitude our Savior's birth in Bethlehem. Like the shepherds called from nearby fields and the Magi who journeyed from distant lands to welcome the Christ Child, we are drawn to this miraculous event in history.
Born in a stable and greeted by a handful of faithful and obedient men, Christ came to assume the role of a shepherd, thus fulfilling the words of the prophet Isaiah: ``He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm and carry them in His bosom.''
Christ's brief time on Earth was devoted to tending the physical and spiritual needs of His flock: healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and illuminating the path to eternal salvation. His Incarnation radically altered the course of human history by challenging men and women to live according to the will of our just and merciful Father in Heaven. Today, Christ's message of hope and redemption -- first delivered on that holy night in the City of David -- continues to bring peace and joy to millions of people around the world.
As we give and receive the goodwill of Christ during this holy season, let us be mindful of the true meaning of His life on earth and especially of His greatest commandment: to love God with all our heart and to love our neighbor as ourself. Events during the past year have given us a renewed sense of hope, yet in some parts of the world, peace remains an elusive blessing this Christmas. Even in some of our own cities, poverty, despair, and drug-related violence prevent families and individuals from sharing in the promise of this season. Therefore, let us strive, by following Christ's example in word and deed, to make peace on Earth a reality for all of God's children.
Barbara joins me in wishing all of our fellow Americans a Merry Christmas. May this festive and holy season be filled with the warmth of family and friends and with the deep joy of knowing God's love for mankind through the gift of His Son. God bless you.