Christmas tree and lights in the square in front of the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Copyright: Municipality of Bethlehem
Jesus the Son of God, born of woman, Son of Mary, Son of Joseph, we are waiting for you at Christmas.
We, the Knights and Dames of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, are waiting for you down here on earth, all across the earth, from Tierra del Fuego to the icy land of the North, from the Far East to the extreme West. We are here and you will come here, to be close to us, among us, on this earth that is groaning in labor, trembling inwardly, but for whose birth? What new things will be born over the ruins of homes and human affairs? If it were not for you, nothing would be renewed on earth, you who make all things new.
We are waiting here, in your land, that is holy for us, that we love and feel our own: this is the mystery of your incarnation and of our birth in you. This really is the newness that only you can bring. Thanks to you, the holy Son of God, the holy Son of the earth!
We are waiting for you down here in the bowels of the earth, in the poor darkness of a grotto, where we feel at home. Your Bethlehem, "house of bread" that protects and nourishes your life and nourishes our faith. How many times have we found you and worshiped, like the shepherds, we pilgrims, but also your brothers and sisters, in your home and our home, where Mary and Joseph welcome us and still today offer us the bread of life!
We are waiting for you down here, in the cradle of Bethlehem we await the bread of peace for your land, the land of Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Nazareth, for each district from Galilee to Judea, from the cedars of Lebanon to the desert of Egypt, from East to West, from sea to sea, a sea of peace that will allow the children of the new exodus to pass onto dry land, not into the tomb of exiles.
We are waiting for you down here, laid by Mary your Mother in the animals manger, and remember that one day other hands will lay you in your tomb. It was the eve of the Sabbath, a time of rest and peace. Gift us peace from Your Holy Sepulchre, which draws our desires and fills our lives, giving us a new name. We are yours, Jesus, Son of God, Mary, Joseph. We are your family: Give peace to your land.
Msgr. Fortunato Frezza
Master of Ceremonies
(December 22, 2016)