December 21, 2016

Bishop Hagiya’s Christmas 2016 Message

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is the Messiah, the Lord.

Luke 2:10-11

Marriage is a wonderful way to diversify our families.  Our nephew married into an immigrant family, and I have just learned that they came from the city of Aleppo.  Our niece-in-law’s parents immigrated from Aleppo many years ago, and they are demoralized to see their former home brought to ruins by insane violence and hatred.  They speak of a once proud city, where religious tolerance was the norm, reduced now to a place of destruction and death.

There is not a strong message of hope one can associate with the city of Aleppo.  Yet, is this not the very reason that the Christ child was born?  If we remember our biblical history, did not Herod, when he found he was tricked by the wise men, slaughter all the children under the age of two in and around Bethlehem?  Jesus was born into a world of human violence, and to address our human sinfulness, Jesus is the only answer to liberate us from such violence

The fact that young innocent children are being killed in the city of Aleppo and other parts of the world is inconceivable in our modern age.  Coming from a family of medical physicians, our niece-in-law has just completed her residency and is beginning her own practice in pediatric oncology.  I think of all the children she will help and save.  I think of all the children that will be given a second chance because of her skills and care.  Than I think of what would have happened had her family not emigrated from Aleppo.  I think of how the world would be so impoverished without her contribution to save lives.

Into our present world, the Christ child is born anew.  Into our world of violence, the Prince of Peace will reign.  Into our hopeless world, our Lord brings a ray of hope.  May we learn and spread this message of our Savior.  May this Christmas be different than all of those before.  May the Prince of Peace reign supreme.

Be the Hope,

Bishop Grant J. Hagiya
Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop
The United Methodist Church