Cardinal Dolan Shares a Christmas Message with NBC: Jesus Is in Our Hearts

News & Politics

Continuing their tradition of having Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan on set to deliver a Christmas message to viewers, NBC’s Today co-hosts Craig Melvin and Sheinelle Jones talked with the archbishop of New York about Christmas being a light in the darkness for so many people and how people are never truly lonely because Jesus is in our hearts and soul.

After something of an eggnog toast to the health of Today co-host Al Roker, who’s recovering from some health issues, Jones noted that it’s been a rough couple of years and now, “A lot of people haven’t been able to be with family … So, now a lot of people are coming back together for this holiday. What’s your message this holiday season?”

Dolan empathized, saying “it has been a dark time” and recounted how his family just celebrated Thanksgiving without his mother for the first time. “Good to recognize that. Good to acknowledge that because, in a way, when we tag the darkness, when we admit there’s some tension and some trauma and suffering in our life, really what we’re saying is, I need someone or something to fill that,” he said.

And what better to push back that darkness than Christmas?

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DOLAN: You know, the philosophers tell us that evil is not something, it’s a lack of something. It’s a hole, it’s the absence of good. So, in a way, when we tag all this darkness that’s going on in the world, what we’re saying is I need some light. I need some light.

And you, as a believer, I believe that Jesus, who revealed himself as light to the world, you think of the Christmas star in the middle of the darkest time of the year, the darkest time of the day, midnight, that light to the world. That’s what we got. We need a little Christmas. We need some light. It’s the darkest time of the year naturally. Was it yesterday?

JONES: Shortest day of the year.

DOLAN: Shortest day of the year. And now the sun begins to go up. So, darn it, light always trumps darkness. You know it. Life always wins over death. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas.

For Melvin’s question, he wanted Dolan’s insights on how people can get through Christmas with the passing of a family member. Dolan said it’s important to remember them and turn mourning into being thankful to God for them being in your life. “Thank you, Lord, that we had them. Kind of wish I still did. I really miss them, especially this time of year. But am I ever happy I had them. And they were gifts to me,” he said.

Adding: “And instead of maybe kind of feeling sorry for myself and sitting in a corner, maybe I ought to be the kind of person who, when I’m gone, people are going to miss. And people are going to look back and say boy, we miss Aunt Alice or, boy, we miss grandma. We want to be those kind of people, don’t we?”

Jones had the final question and teed up Dolan to give hope to those feeling lonely during Christmas. Speaking to the believers and non-believers, Dolan explained that Jesus is in all our hearts and souls:

Yeah. First of all, we’re never lonely. Okay? See, here’s the scoop. I’m talking, of course, to believers but I invite everybody to believe. So, the son of God was born in — on that Christmas day in Bethlehem because he wants to be reborn in our hearts. All right? So, we have always got that divine spark. We have always got that person, the divine, almighty God, his son of Jesus. We’ve always got him in our heart, in our soul. We are never ever alone. We have always got God. We are never by ourselves. We are never abandoned.

“As the angels said that first Christmas, be not afraid, a savior is born to us. You are not alone out there,” he concluded.

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

NBC Today
December 23, 2022
8:21:47 a.m. Eastern

(…)

SHEINELLE JONES: We were thinking about it. You know, the last couple of years have been tough. Not that this year isn’t tough. A lot of people haven’t been able to be with family. I’m thinking about it for me, it’s been a couple of years. So, now a lot of people are coming back together for this holiday.

CARDINAL TIMOTHY M. DOLAN: Thank God.

JONES: What’s your message this holiday season?

DOLAN: Well, you got something, Sheinelle. It has been a dark time, hasn’t it? I mean, for myself, I was home for Thanksgiving, our first without mom. We lost her in March. So, there’s always enough darkness to go around. And even though there always seems to be darkness, this year seems to have been a full house. You look at Ukraine, you look at the violence, you look the political division and turmoil. My Lord, some of that weather story that Dylan just did.

JONES: It’s true.

DOLAN: The people that are really going to be stranded and suffering.

Anyway, good to tag that. Good to recognize that. Good to acknowledge that because, in a way, when we tag the darkness, when we admit there’s some tension and some trauma and suffering in our life, really what we’re saying is, I need someone or something to fill that.

You know, the philosophers tell us that evil is not something, it’s a lack of something. It’s a hole, it’s the absence of good. So, in a way, when we tag all this darkness that’s going on in the world, what we’re saying is I need some light. I need some light.

And you, as a believer, I believe that Jesus, who revealed himself as light to the world, you think of the Christmas star in the middle of the darkest time of the year, the darkest time of the day, midnight, that light to the world. That’s what we got. We need a little Christmas. We need some light. It’s the darkest time of the year naturally. Was it yesterday?

JONES: Shortest day of the year.

DOLAN: Shortest day of the year. And now the sun begins to go up. So, darn it, light always trumps darkness.

CREIG MELVIN: Yes.

DOLAN: You know it. Life always wins over death. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas.

MELVIN: Cardinal, a lot of folks — for a lot of folks this time of year, it’s especially difficult, because to your point, they’re reminded of a loved one that they lost.

DOLAN: Yes. Yes.

MELVIN: Or they are suffering from loneliness and the holidays are just another reminder of them being alone.

DOLAN: Yup. Yup. Right.

MELVIN: What’s your message to them?

DOLAN: Well, my message to them, if we look back in reverent and grateful reflection and memory of those people. We miss them, you bet we do, but we turn that into a prayer of Thanksgiving, a prayer of praise to God. Thank you, Lord, that we had them. Kind of wish I still did. I really miss them, especially this time of year. But am I ever happy I had them. And they were gifts to me.

And instead of maybe kind of feeling sorry for myself and sitting in a corner, maybe I ought to be the kind of person who, when I’m gone, people are going to miss. And people are going to look back and say, boy, we miss Aunt Alice or, boy, we miss grandma. We want to be those kind of people, don’t we?

MELVIN: Yes.

DOLAN: So, instead of kind of missing them, we turn it into gratitude and we turn it into a prayer. Can I be that light for other people like he or she was to me.

JONES: We only have a minute left. Can you speak to someone who might be watching this morning who may be lonely.

DOLAN: Yeah. First of all, we’re never lonely. Okay? See, here’s the scoop. I’m talking, of course, to believers but I invite everybody to believe. So, the son of God was born in — on that Christmas day in Bethlehem because he wants to be reborn in our hearts. All right? So, we have always got that divine spark. We have always got that person, the divine, almighty God, his son of Jesus. We’ve always got him in our heart, in our soul. We are never ever alone. We have always got God. We are never by ourselves. We are never abandoned.

As the angels said that first Christmas, be not afraid, a savior is born to us. You are not alone out there.

[Throws kiss to the camera]

MELVIN: Cardinal Dolan. Let the church say amen.

DOLAN: Let the church as amen and let the church pass the eggnog.

MELVIN: Amen to that!

[Laughter]

DOLAN: Have a blessed Christmas, folks!

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