Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
May the Lord grant you a blessed and joyous Christmas, as you celebrate with family and friends! Equally, may he grant you a deeper knowledge of Himself, as you consider with amazement what Christmas really means!
The Son of God took on human nature, so that we could hear Him, see Him, and touch Him; and so that after having lived a life of perfect love, even suffering-love, he could die for our sins, giving us salvation from sin and death, and bringing us finally to life in the full embrace of our Heavenly Father. That’s really what Christmas is about. And, it really takes a Faith-discipline, a spiritual discipline to keep the focus correct.
If we were to nourish ourselves on modern media to gain an understanding of Christmas, I am afraid we would miss the real focus of Christmas. The meaning of Christmas is presented as a spirit of giving, or a spirit of hope… Yet, without identifying the motivation of the giving, or the reason for the hope! The name of Jesus is never mentioned! How do you talk about Christmas without the Christ!?
Christmas is first about what the one, true God gave to us – His beloved Son – and that is the reason we respond with gift-love to the world around us. “God has shown His mercy, and we are compelled to share His love.” God’s gift of His Son puts the “giving” into Christmas. So, there’s the giving part of Christmas.
Then there is the hope in Christmas. Seeing the Child in the manger, who we know to be God-with-Us (Emmanuel), who will save us from our sins… Seeing this on Christmas, we have reason to hope. Hope is not something vague, with no real object. Hope is certainly not just Hope in human capacity left to itself. Christmas hope is all about looking at God’s solution for our human condition, a solution we perceive with the eyes of faith in the amazing Child in the Bethlehem stable. Seeing God’s Son in the flesh, we hope for our salvation from sin and death. Yes, by His grace, of course, we can also hope for an improvement in the human condition on earth. As each of us allows the Son of God to shepherd us, to reign over us, to heal and strengthen us on our life’s journey, we certainly hope he will transform the world around us. We hope He will use us as His instruments, in other words.
Christmas is all about allowing God to break into our personal lives and reign in our hearts, as He broke into the world by the Incarnation. In the true spirit of Christmas, let’s bow down with the Three Wise Men before the Divine Child and declare His Kingship over us – even personally. The Fathers of the Church taught that all of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection gets poured into the Sacraments. Therefore, we can certainly offer our Savior the homage of our hearts as we approach Him in the Sacraments this Christmas. Let’s allow the Divine Child, Jesus, to move us further towards our earthly goal of perfect love, and our heavenly goal of eternal life, as we commit ourselves to worship Him more deeply.
Again, may the Lord grant you a blessed and joyful Christmas with family and friends!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,