Merry Christmas from Integrated Catholic Life

"Adoration of the Shepherds" (detail) by Murillo

“Adoration of the Shepherds” (detail) by Murillo


And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12).

Merry Christmas!

Repeatedly in scripture, we are told to be not afraid. Yet for many of us, our faith is not yet strong and deep enough to find all our motivation in love. Rather, we carry this burden of guilt and a fear of the unknown. When the motivation for our sorrow is fear of punishment, our sorrow is imperfect, even so, that is sufficient for the Sacrament of Confession. But, we should strive for the day when we are motivated out of love of God and not fear of punishment. On that day, our contrition will be perfect.

So, we need a healthy understanding of fear. Fear of the Lord is one of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, but this fear is not a servile fear that dreads punishment, rather it is a filial respect that desires above all not to offend God whose love for us is infinite.

As the angel said, “I bring you good news of great joy.”

God loves you. He wants you to love Him. Our motivation to love Him and be with Him should be all about Him, not about us. So on this most joyful of all days, let us surrender our lives to the Christ Child in faith, hope and charity!

We are loved! God is with us! Be not afraid!

“I want to do what You ask of me, in the way You ask, for as long as You ask, because You ask it.” (from the Universal Prayer of Pope Clement XI)


Merry Christmas from Deacon Mike Bickerstaff, Randy Hain, Hugh Hayman and all of us at the Integrated Catholic Life.


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About the Author

Deacon Mike Bickerstaff Editor-In-Chief, ICL

Deacon Michael Bickerstaff is the Editor in chief and co-founder of the The Integrated Catholic Life.™ A Catholic Deacon of the Roman Rite for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Deacon Bickerstaff is assigned to St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church where he is the Director of Adult Education and Evangelization.

He is also the Founder and President of Virtue@Work, where he provides Executive and Personal Coaching, Mentoring and Organizational Consulting. Deacon Mike has 30+ years management consulting experience in senior executive leadership positions providing organizational planning and implementation services with a focus on human resource strategy and tax qualified retirement plan design, administration and compliance.

He is a co-founder of the successful annual Atlanta Catholic Business Conference; the Chaplain of the Atlanta Chapter of the Woodstock Theological Center’s Business Conference; and Chaplain of the St. Peter Chanel Faith at Work Business Association and co-founder and Chaplain of the Marriages Are Covenants Ministry, both of which serve as models for similar parish-based ministries.

He and his wife have two married children and three grandchildren.

NB: The views I express on this site are my own. I am not an official spokesman for either my parish or diocese.

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