DECEMBER 21, 2017 The Light has come into the darkness  gainst the background of an ancient marble arch, Mary and Joseph look up-on the newly born Jesus. With them, we rejoice. The Light has come into the darkness. The two angels behind Joseph join BISHOP ARTHUR in adoration with the two shepherds J. SERRATELLI behind Mary. Heaven and earth unite in praise, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” The peaceful gaze of the angels rests in delight upon God’s only Begotten Son, born of the Virgin. In Christ, God’s grace is poured out in abundance on us. The twisted bodies of dark-skinned shepherds re-ﬂect the restless yearning of humanity for salvation. Christ indeed is our hope and our Savior. This 15th century painting of the Nativity by Francesco di Giorgio Martini is found in the Basilica of San Domenico in Siena. Like the two cherubs who hovered over the Ark of the Covenant, the ox and the donkey stand guard at the manger. The Divine Presence once hidden in the Ark is now concealed in human ﬂesh. The Word was made ﬂesh and dwelt among us. The broken marble arch in the background sym-bolizes a civilization that is falling into ruins. With sin, death entered the world. The child Jesus rests upon a block of marble. What is fallen, he raises up. What is broken, he re-stores. Christ builds us up into the very temple of God, his dwelling place on earth. This Christmas, our hearts rejoice. What we can-not do for ourselves, God is doing for us. In Christ, he is recreating us anew. His manger is the birth-place of a new civilization. By his grace, he heals our divisions, binds up our wounds and makes us a people of justice, peace and joy. In Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, God took on our humanity in order to share with us his divinity. This Christmas, may the Lord bless each of you with His grace. May he make you know how much he loves you. And, may each of you have the peace the angels heralded the night our Savior was born.