Grief and Love, Sorrow and Joy: A Christmas message from Bishop Duncan-Probe

As we celebrate the Incarnation, what does it mean to be grieving and loving, sorrowful and hopeful, at the same time? Bishop Duncan-Probe’s 2021 Christmas message is a reflection on God’s presence with us in every situation.


Merry Christmas!

How are you this Christmas season?

Some years, some Christmas seasons, I think it’s so easy to access mercy and peace and hope and joy. We sing and we feel light-hearted. And other years—maybe like this one for some of us—it’s a bit more challenging. It’s harder to feel hopeful in the midst of so much discord, when we’re trying to figure out how to gather with masks, and vaccinated and unvaccinated, and variants, and what to do in this season. And then for some of us, the joy of the season is overshadowed by the sorrow and losses we’re feeling—by the grief that is deep and heartfelt.

But you know, we never grieve things without love. We don’t grieve things we don’t love. Grief is a sign of love, a measure of it almost. Grief is an indication that something significant has been part of our lives, and we miss it, long for it, value it. So in this Christmas season, as we’re celebrating the birth of our Lord, Emmanuel come near to us, what does it mean to be grieving and loving? And how are we finding this celebration of the Incarnation?

I think we often forget that hope is that spiritual, divine part of us that carries us over challenging times. To feel the challenge of a time is not to be without hope. It’s in precisely that moment that we need God’s hope to be with us: Emmanuel come near. And joy, well, we often think of joy as just a frivolous happiness or just being “up” and positive. And we forget that joy comes in the morning, after a night of sorrow and seeking God. After at time when we may feel that our prayers have not been answered, and we may not feel that God is, indeed, with us.

But God is present with you and loves you and cares for you. And in this season I pray you will know God’s caring for you, and that it will fill you with joy as you are: with your griefs, and challenges, and hurts, and pains. When you feel these, may you also feel that God with us is greater than these.

May you be blessed and be a blessing. And may this Christmas season we ring out the proclamation that Love has come, and we are transformed. Amen.

The Rt. Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe
Bishop of Central New York

Showing 3 comments
  • Frances Tirinato

    Thank you for your inspiring message. Although there is sorrow and frustration that surrounds us, I will continue to hope and find those reasons to feel joy with God. Thank you for a good start of my day.

  • Jim Wagner

    Thanks. I enjoyed this message. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yourstaff.

  • Anne Virginia Garbarino

    I enjoyed both greetings from Bishops Curry and DeeDee. Thank you. I’m sending on the comments about the refugees as so many people have negative ideas of these people.

Start typing and press Enter to search