Presiding Bishop’s Christmas Message 2012

'Discover the love of God poured into our world in human form'

Posted Dec 13, 2012

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] “Discover the love of God poured into our world in human form,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori says in her Christmas Message 2012.

The following is the text of the presiding bishop’s Christmas Message 2012:


Christmas Message 2012

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined. Isaiah 9:2

These words were spoken long ago to people living in anxiety, fear, and despair, people feeling bereft of security, safety, and any sense of God’s presence. We hear them early on Christmas, forgetting that they were first spoken hundreds of years before the birth we celebrate. Human beings across this planet still yearn to know that a more gracious and divine reality is active and evident in our lives.

The birth we celebrate is meant for this world mired in darkness and fear, yet it also becomes easier to discover in a tiny voice crying in protest over being cold and wet and hungry. We hear that cry in the midst of war’s ravages in Congo and Afghanistan, in the rubble of hurricane and earthquake, in the demeaning of chronic poverty, behind prison bars. That flickering of hope surges as the world turns to investigate this surprising new life, one heart at a time. The light grows as hearts catch fire with the same light that illumines the stars, pulsing hope and new life, even out of black holes.

Those who search in dark and despair, in dank dungeon and deep devastation, will find divine light given for the world. Light that will not be put out, so long as any creature remains to receive it, until and beyond the end of time. The darkness will never put it out.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:5

Go and look – and discover the love of God poured into our world in human form. Hope reigns abroad, in the cosmos and in human hearts. And rejoice, for a child of the light is born in our midst!

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church


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Comments (41)

  1. Carol McRee says:

    Anthony, I fail to see how “inclusive” it is to depose over 200 clergy and several bishops then sue over property. That is a part of “inclusivity” I don’t understand.

    Most clergy who really believe in Christ are not afraid to mention Him in their addresses,etc. Also it is generally accepted practice to capitalize any word that refers to Christ whether it be Child, Light of the World, Savior, Redeemer,etc. So many (including myself) could interpret the PB’s use of the following phrase “a child of the light is born” as not meaning the same as “The Child is born”. I think it is not a mistake and a deliberate PC phrase of her choosing. I am not surprised that her Christmas address has no mention of Jesus Christ. Same old, same old. nothing new.

  2. Çhristopher Cleveland says:

    This is yet another very banal and disappointing sermon from the PB. Try reading the Christmas message from the PB of the ELCA (Lutheran) for a truly Christian sermon with depth and hope. I anticipate with great relief the day Rev. Schori retires. May God have mercy on The Episcopal. Church. We need more bishops like Mark Lawrence of South Carolina. TEC has become a disordered. And heretical kind of liturgical Unitarianism. The ACNA or the Ordinariate seem to be the only orthodox options.

  3. Gilbert Martinez says:

    I don’t have the intellectual calibre to wade thru all these semantics and allusions of these arguments concerning the appropriateness of “child of light” christmas message to the church, but i find all these arguments both bewildering and downright petty like the sophisticated rants from ivory towers when the reality for most christians living down in the poverty stricken countries (call it third world whatever) especially here in southern philippines where entire communities in remote mountain areas literally have no access to decent shelter, clean water and food, and… reliable supply of telecommunications and electricity = LIGHT!

    Thus I find it utterly shameful for those who go ballistic for such a petty argument on appropriateness for calling Christ the Emmanuel as the child of light when for many people here in Mindanao, Southern Philippines–we literally live in the shadow of darkness and still waiting for light to shine in our communities and in addition we find all these arguments appalling and scandalous to insist on such “orthodoxy” for such petty matters when people here are literally struggling to survive each day (especially after the total destruction of typhoon bhopal aka pablo destroying foodstocks and livelihood)… talking about orthodoxy and even god is the least on their mind on this supposed season of life and light when all we see around is darkness, death and destruction… and people are still dying from lack of food, medicine and shelter living on shattered houses and hospitals with just a piece of cardboard and tattered rice sacks on their heads to keep them dry under continous evening rains.

    So I challenge those who still think that “child of light” as an unorthodox unchristian way to call christ the Emmanuel? Before goin ballistic for petty orthodoxy try living out the compassion of Christ and give justice to your christian faith by reaching out first to the people on the otherside of the world, to the people who live under darkness and the shadow of death… still crying out in desperation for the coming on the “child of light” this christmas!

  4. Fr. Mike Neal says:

    For those who don’t know, and there are many in the world, the “child of light” means JESUS.
    PB please let others know HIS name…………………………..JESUS the ONLY saviour of the world.
    Merry CHRISTmas……………………..:)

  5. patrick Bone says:

    Thank you, Bishop Jefferts, for reminding us of this time for peace and goodwill to all.

  6. J M Stevenson says:

    “My thoughts are not your thoughts nor your words my words …”. We get the drift; though implicitly said, yet explicit.

    1. J M Stevenson says:

      Emendation: “My thoughts are not your thoughts nor your ways my ways …”. (Sorry about that; got hung up on the “Word” game reflected in above comments. Pun.)

  7. Lise Cujar says:

    Let me see if I get this right. PB quotes initially from the Bible and said people said this long ago so she obviously believes this is a true account. But calling Jesus Devine and a savior for the whole world for those who believe in Him, not so much. As a lay person how can I possibly understand when she says something is true in scripture and something is not? Does she make this up as she goes along? Forgive me for being confused, but either Jesus was lying when he said no man comes to the father except through me, or he was telling the truth.

  8. Dr. David Halsted says:

    I was speaking with a friend whom had a problem with “Organized Religion”. This whole discussion is exactlly why I suggested she investigate TEC, as we are anything but organized.

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