Christmas 2004

Christmas Message of His Grace Marcel Gervais, Archbishop of Ottawa

The Lord is with us

To say "The Lord is with us" is to some a great consolation; to others it is an insult. It depends on how it is taken.

To those who are upheld by the saying, it means that the God of heaven and earth and all that these contain is not far away; he is near to us, he is with us.

Those who are hurt by this saying interpret it as meaning: "if God is with you, then he must not be with us". They hear it as being a declaration of division by those who claim God as their own and deny the divine presence to others.

But the "us" in the saying refers to all of us, all of humanity, no matter our race, color, faith or no faith. To say "God is with us" is to say "God is in the midst of our human race." God is not a distant being, he is close, he walks with us. He is claiming us as his own. He will not allow us to claim that we own him, he owns us... everyone of us, both the rich and the poor, the mighty and the lowest, the good and the sinner.

Jesus is God who became one of us. He is alive and he is with us always to the end of time. Let us appreciate that fact more and more each day.

Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to all!

+ Marcel Gervais
Archbishop of Ottawa