Christmas wishes 2023


Dear Friends,

Once again we find ourselves in the middle of December and in the midst of yet another Advent Season.  We honor the Prince of Peace even as we live amidst so much human cruelty and stupidity, as greed, pettiness, conflict, and war continues to rage all around the world.  We make our plans for war, develop our strategies and tactics, and we build and sell our lethal weapons.  Or, alternatively, we religious folks hold our meetings, develop our plans and programs, write our articles and newsletters, and hold our protests and other efforts to effect substantive change.  And yet, we find ourselves not unlike the people of the biblical Tower of Babel: all our efforts seem to come to nothing, to make very little difference in the suffering of our world.  The temptation to despair and cynicism is certainly present, and, to many people who take an honest look at human history, despair and cynicism seem like realistic options.

And yet, we Christians are a people of hope, a stubborn, defiant hope in spite of all the obstacles placed in our way each day: a hope not based on the likelihood of the success of our efforts, but rather rooted in our belief in a God who brought creation, and each one of us, into being out of love, a God who—in spite of our self-inflicted wounds—never gives up on us, a God who can take even our brokenness and bring something beautiful out of it.

As Pope Francis wrote back in April 2023, “This is how God’s hope germinates. It is born and reborn in the black holes of our disappointed expectations – and hope, true hope, instead, never disappoints. Let us think precisely about the cross: out of the most terrible instrument of torture, God wrought the greatest sign of his love. Having become the tree of life, that wood of death reminds us that God’s beginnings often begin with our ends. Thus, he loves to work wonders.”

And now, as we approach the feast of Christmas, we are reminded that the Christian story began with another paradox: out of the poverty, humility, and anonymity of the scene of his birth, a tiny child is born who is destined to change the world, not with acts of domination and control, not with acts of power over others, but by another kind of power: the power of love.  While we humans often seem utterly incapable of grasping this simple lesson, this power is the only one that can ever truly change our world, or ourselves.

I close with a beautiful prayer authored by the Benedictine Monks of Weston Priory in Vermont (USA):

Child of Bethlehem—house of bread;

Man of Jerusalem—city of peace;

You have loved us

Without limit or condition;

In our greatness and in our misery,

In our folly and in our virtue;

May your hand be always upon us

And may your heart be always within us,

So that we too many become

Bread and peace for another.


I wish each of you beautiful and joyous Christmas.


Father David Gentry

Mission Promoter

Solidarity with South Sudan

Date Published:

12 December 2023


Fr David

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