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Here in front of our Generalate, which is the home of all of you, and under the gaze of Mary Help of Christians, I wish to reach you in every part of the world to wish you a Merry Christmas, a holy Christmas, and also a Happy New Year 2017. From this home, which is the home of all the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, and also of all the young people, laity, and families we meet in the various countries of the world in which we are present, I wish to reach every community, every house, each and every one of you in this special time of joy in preparation for Christmas. I want to entrust to Mary, our Mother and Helper, the task of entering into our houses, to be beside each of you and to express to each of you my sentiments of joy and of hope that I want to share with all of you. Mary has no problem traveling and therefore she will be my messenger to wish you a Christmas of joy and of hope. It is a greeting that I wish will enter in you in an especially deep way. Who more than Mary can accompany us in this expectancy and welcoming of Jesus with joy and hope in our heart?
Mary received the announcement of the coming of Jesus in her; an announcement that reached the whole world through her. She received it with some trepidation because it was a surprise. However, she accepted this grace of joy, of great joy: the presence of Jesus in her. It is with the same joy that She gives Jesus this Christmas, the Son of God and Hers, to the world. Jesus is truly the source of our joy, of a joy that is not superficial but profound. It is a joy that starts with the acceptance of littleness: it is the joy of a baby that expects everything from its mother, from its parents, because it trusts them. It is the joy of God, happy to give us this great gift in Jesus, a gift of love. Joy comes from love. Love gives joy.
At Christmas, Jesus ‘came out’ to reach us and thus meet humanity. He wanted to stay among men and women, not only those of His time, but of all times. Christmas is the feast of joy and of hope because it is also the feast of ‘going out’ to express love. We feel we are on the road going toward others, as Jesus did, especially toward people who are the neediest, who suffer, or who are alone; toward people who have had to leave their countries, their homes because of war, violence, lack of work, to look for a better life. And we are immersed in this world. This Christmas with Jesus we want to continue our journey of attention, of searching, of going out of ourselves to receive the others, and of going out to meet them. This is a movement that comes from the heart; that leads us out of ourselves to open our eyes, to broaden the horizon of ‘knowing how to be aware of each other and bring us close to all those who need us. Hope is a journey of faith. Speaking of joy and hope on Christmas Day leads us to think of the whole world, of all the struggles, the difficulties, the violence, and also of the search for the good that also exists.
As I think of people who are suffering, I ask myself: how will Christmas be for them; what does it mean to have hope today? I ask this question before Jesus. I think that God Himself has asked this question and found the answer by sending Jesus so that He would remain in our midst, sharing our life and all that it means – joys, hopes, life, death, suffering – to be in solidarity with all of this reality.
On our journey of joy and of hope, I meet this rose that has not yet bloomed and I want to offer it to each of you, to every person listening to this message as a sign of Christmas joy, of hope that is blossoming through the coming of Jesus as a sign of love and also of my affection. Receive this rose as a gift from Jesus Himself.
Here we are at the birth of Jesus. We think of the joy of the family that in love’s warmth receives the baby and of all the families of the world: those we know, our own families, but also the families of all peoples.
I want to ask for the gift of faith for many families so that as they receive and accompany their children in their search for the meaning of life, they can find it in Jesus who comes.
I also pray that our communities may also ‘be Bethlehem’, the house where love makes us feel family; where love becomes fruitful, so that these communities may be a witness for all the other families. To feel we are family, to be family, like the family of Nazareth, like the one of Joseph and Mary who received Jesus. It is a characteristic of our vocation, of our educating communities. Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello understood that without creating a family, without giving a family to the young people, they could not educate. May Christmas be for all of us this sign that invites us to build the family every day. I wish all the groups of the Salesian Family a Merry Christmas in the family spirit from which flow joy and hope.
My greeting goes to the Rector Major, Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, first of all, and then to all the Salesian Confreres, the Past Pupils, the Salesian Cooperators, all the groups of the Salesian Family, all the friends, all people, and all your families. May the joy and hope of Christmas radiate and be a ray of light in the life of each of you! May it be a ray of light that accompanies the 2017 New Year, which we hope will be a year of peace; a peace that goes from our hearts and reaches every corner of the world. May this peace, together with joy and hope, be a gift that Jesus gives to all of humanity this Christmas and at the beginning of the New Year.
I thank all of you for the greetings I have received and am still receiving during this time and I regard them as a sign of your affection. I reciprocate your greetings in the desire that they reach your hearts.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2017!
Mother Yvonne Reungoat, FMA