The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake city
Bishop John C. Wester of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City offers a Christmas message.

Just a few days ago, we technically began winter. It is somewhat strange that it takes so long to officially recognize what we have all known all along: it's cold and dark outside! As a matter of fact, it has been getting darker and darker for some time. And then, on the darkest day of the year, we declare that it is winter. But what is even stranger is that the first thing that begins to happen in winter is that the darkness gives way to the light.

The first day of winter marks a kind of starting point from which the day conquers the night, little by little, until the light gains the upper hand.

How fitting that we celebrate Christmas at this time, the time of waxing light.

Jesus Christ is the light that pierces our darkness and brings us hope and new life. Christ vanquishes the darkness that often clouds our vision and obscures our sight. The shadows of war, poverty, domestic violence, addiction, greed, selfishness and pride that so often cause us to stumble are exposed to the light that is Christ and the truth that he proclaims as the Word of God.

With each passing year, the celebration of Christmas invites us to become living reflections of the light of Christ. As we reach out to one another in love, forgiveness and tolerance we become beacons of light to those who have lived in darkness and, marvelously, we end up illuminating our own paths as well.

I am honored to join my voice to so many others in praying that the light and hope of this holy season will fill each of us with Christ's peace. And may the newborn Savior, the daystar that never sets, lift us up in his tender embrace until one day we are one with him forever in the eternal day.

— Most Reverend John C. Wester

Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, with this special holiday message for Deseret News readers