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  • Writer's pictureDiocese of WNC

A Message from Bishop José: Advent 2023

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we enter into this Advent season and embark on a new church year, I invite you to reflect with me on the joy found in the small and simple things.

Advent calls us to slow down, be watchful and attentive to the inbreaking of God’s presence all around us. When we embrace this particular pace of life and posture of looking and listening, we begin to find God in those small things that can easily escape our attention as we hustle to bring things together for the holidays. In the midst of what can often feel like a chaotic season, simplicity can be a guiding light that leads us to the heart of what truly matters.

One of the things that truly matters, is Joy. I believe Joy can often be found in those ordinary moments that might otherwise go unnoticed. As we slow down and begin to notice all the little things that may seem trivial, I invite you to consider one small thing that might reveal to you hope or new life. Take a moment to truly appreciate the beauty of a sunrise, the warmth of a shared smile, or the comfort of a moment spent in quiet reflection.

Even when life is filled with moments of challenge, suffering and grief, including rampant discord and bitter division throughout the world, our faith reminds us that joy is the promise that pain and death do not have the final word.

True joy is not the absence of suffering but the presence of something greater, the presence of a God who holds us through every moment, no matter what.

As we journey through the season of Advent and light our candles for hope, peace, love, and grace, let us remember that it is not the grandeur of life that brings us joy but the simplicity of connection that draws us together. It is not the brightest Christmas tree, the most expensive gift, or the most extravagant meal. Joy is found in those ordinary moments of shared connection, kindness extended, and the strength that can be found in each other.

Just as Jesus entered the world in the humble beginnings of a stone trough, so it is the same with joy. Amidst the challenges of the world, a profound joy was born to us, not with fanfare, but quietly entering human life, sustaining us with the simplicity of knowing we are loved.

This Advent season, let us discover joy in the journey we share together, supporting each other through the challenges we face, cherishing the ordinary moments of wonder and hope, and being assured that God’s love is steadfast and enduring.


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