Catholic Review Column: The Greatest Story Ever Told

The Christmas Story may well be the greatest story ever told. No, not the book and movie of the same name about a boy’s obsessive desire for the holy grail of Christmas presents: a Red Rider BB Gun. I am referring to the real Christmas Story, the true story of the birth of Jesus Christ that first Christmas.

Take a moment to consider the plot lines:

  • God creates the world in love and man in his own image but human beings reject his love through sin. The Father prepares the way to send his only Son into the world to save mankind;
  • He chooses Mary, a poor Jewish woman, unmarried and a virgin, as the vessel from which new life—Jesus’ life—will spring;
  • The angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she is to be the Mother of the Savior, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and with deepest faith and trust Mary consents;
  • Mary, who is with child, and her husband Joseph, travel to Bethlehem in Judea to take part in the census ordered by the Emperor.
  • While in Bethlehem, the time comes for Jesus to be born and Mary must give birth to the Savior of the World, the King of Kings and Prince of Peace…in a stable.

And this is just the story of His birth! At Mass throughout the rest of the year, we not only hear but relive the story of the extraordinary life this Child would lead in His short time on earth—the miracles, the teachings, the acts of kindness and His heroic suffering and death by which he saved us. If you are like me, you marvel at it with each telling, for no greater story has ever been told.

As followers of Jesus and members of His Church, we are asked to share the truth and love of Jesus with those around us, to live our lives following His example, to be Christ for others and to see Christ in others. This is the gift we are asked to give. This is that perfect gift we’ve been searching for to give to someone special in our lives this Christmas.

The way to give this gift is for us first to share in Christ’s merciful love in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and then to rediscover with joy His presence in and through Holy Mass.

May this be a blessed Christmas for all of us, and may God always keep us in His love.

Archbishop William E. Lori

Archbishop William E. Lori was installed as the 16th Archbishop of Baltimore May 16, 2012.

Prior to his appointment to Baltimore, Archbishop Lori served as Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn., from 2001 to 2012 and as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington from 1995 to 2001.

A native of Louisville, Ky., Archbishop Lori holds a bachelor's degree from the Seminary of St. Pius X in Erlanger, Ky., a master's degree from Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg and a doctorate in sacred theology from The Catholic University of America. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Washington in 1977.

In addition to his responsibilities in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Archbishop Lori serves as Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus and is the former chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.