Dear friends and family,
Sister Edna Hess • President, Sisters of the Precious Blood
As Christmas quickly approaches and the words from Isaiah 9:6 — “A child has been born for us, a son given to us” — echo in our hearts and minds, our thoughts turn to the children of the world. We remember the 60,000 or more children who came to our country this year from across the border. Some were separated from their parents and put into detention centers. Our hearts ache as we think of these little ones and how they have been affected by this separation. Thankfully that practice was stopped, but they are still placed in detention centers with their parents. We remember the pictures of refugee children being washed up on shore trying to flee with their parents from war and violence. We think of the children who lose their parents as victims of homicide. We think of the children being shot and killed by a fellow student in their schools. Closer to home we think of all the children who lost their parents in the mass shooting in Dayton this summer. We also think of Chile, where we have three Sisters, which has also been affected by violence. Sister Noemi’s 10-year-old great-niece asked: “Is this violence never going to stop?” How many children in war-torn countries ask the same question? All our warm thoughts are challenged by these realities.
We also hear in the readings from Isaiah this Advent season: “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them” (Isaiah 11:6). We see these words coming to life as we listen to Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old from Sweden, who began a movement to protect the environment and bring attention to climate change by protesting every Friday. Thousands of young people have been inspired by her. She spoke at the UN Climate Action Summit criticizing politicians and leaders of the world for not dealing with climate change and leaving it up to youth to save our planet. And then there are the youth from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida! Many teenage survivors have called for gun reform after having lived through tragic trauma.
Children and youth today are victims of war, violence and injustice — and they are calling us adults and leaders to open our eyes and to change our habits, our prejudices, our violence. They are the witnesses to Emmanuel, God-with-us, who came to be among us and to save us.
May the Child Jesus along with Mary and Joseph bless each of you and your families this Christmas season.