A Christmas Message from Rev. Luis Cortes, President & CEO of Esperanza

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During this holiday season, Christians recount the story of Christ’s birth and celebrate the hope that His coming brought into the world. In His coming, a promise was fulfilled and made flesh so that He would become a living hope for all to bear witness. It is in this fulfilment that we rejoice. There is nothing that compares to the unconditional love that flows from our Father in Heaven through His son Jesus Christ.

In America, it’s easy to lose sight of the true meaning of Christ’s birth and life when we are inundated with messaging about a supposed “War on Christmas”, absurd boycotts of plain red coffee cups, and the bashing of cultures different from our own. There is a toxic cloud of polarization, xenophobia, and general discontent surrounding Christianity’s overall message in mainstream media. It causes many of us to stray from our true mission to serve others and turn to the fruitless act of condemning others.

Thirty years after His birth, Christ set forth a new commandment that would trump all others:  “Love each other as I have loved you,” (John 15:12). We waste so much of our time and energy fighting to separate ourselves from the world, afraid to be influenced by anything foreign to us, instead of spreading God’s love through acts of mercy and benevolence.

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people,’” (Luke 2:10). The expanse of God’s love doesn’t discriminate between race, gender, income, or country of origin. His message and His mercy are available to ALL people.

How then can we call ourselves a national built on the Western European tradition? People of faith are charged to follow the Lord’s teachings, so how can we turn our backs on those seeking refuge from war or poverty?

We must not be afraid to advocate for the “the least of these,” (Matthew 25:40) to “open your mouth for the mute, defend the rights of the poor and needy,” (Proverbs 31: 8-9). Christ came to give us hope. Now we are charged to do the same for humanity.

This holiday season, I encourage you to reflect on the meaning of hope, Esperanza and how we can make hope a reality for many families seeking refuge from a cold world, just as José and María did that fateful night in Bethlehem.

We have the opportunity to show an unprecedented act of mercy and grace on the world stage in the coming year, and I hope that you will stand with Esperanza as we advocate for millions of immigrants seeking sanctuary in America. Stand with us as we seek to provide education, job training, and economic opportunity to the least of these.

We will not waste our time condemning the blatantly ignorant statements being spouted from podiums as of late. Instead, we will combat fear, hate and misinformation with a fact and faith-based narrative about our immigrant brothers and sisters and the economically disadvantaged of our nation, providing a positive alternative to that which distracts us from truly spreading God’s love to all nations.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.”