Today is the fourth, and last, Sunday of Advent, which means that next Sunday we will celebrate the Birth of Christ. As we celebrate this wonderful feast of the Incarnation, we may want to reflect on exactly what God has done for us in His great love for us. He has become one of us. He has humbled Himself to become a human being so that He can save us from our sins. It is we who have sinned, and it is He who humbles Himself for us. Somehow that does not seem quite fair or just, yet this is what God has done for us because He loves us so much. No one made God become a human being. He chose it freely and lovingly. Maybe the next time we are confronted with something that seems unfair we might think of what God has done for us.
Christmas is a celebration of the love of God and there is no better way for us to envision this love than seeing a mother lovingly holding her child. Almost everyone can relate to images of Mary holding the newborn Jesus close to her heart. What is there in us that makes it so easy for most people to be moved by such an image? The answer is quite simple: it is the love of God Himself in each of us that enables us to respond to love when it is right in front of us.
Christmas is always a good and wonderful time for us and that is what God intends it to be. However, there are many people who dread the Christmas Season because of the memories they have of loved ones no longer with us, or memories of Christmases past that were far from loving or joyful. We must pray for these people and for the small part in all of us that has the same tendency. No matter what past Christmases were like, each Christmas is an opportunity for all of us to, again, realize the great and powerful love of God; the love He shows us by coming to us. He continues to come to us in so many ways, but most of all, through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. God continues to take flesh in each Mass and then gives Himself to us so that we may use our bodies and our very lives to give His love to everyone we meet in our daily lives.
This Christmas, may we all rejoice in the love that God has shown in so many countless ways, but most of all, by coming to us Himself. Let us ask the Lord to continue to reveal His love and help us to give of ourselves to others just as He gave His life by dying on the cross. I hope that you and your loved ones will know the power of God’s love in your lives. It is the power to transform our lives more and more into the image and likeness of God. May we all be instruments of God’s love to others as we strive to lay down our lives for others. May God bless you and your loved ones during this holy time of the year.
There are still times this week for confessions. Please see the bulletin for the dates and times. The mercy of God will help us to prepare our hearts for Him and will help us to be merciful towards others.
Christmas is a time for giving gifts as we imitate the example of the Magi who brought gifts to Jesus after He was born in Bethlehem. Let us not forget to offer our gifts to Jesus as well at this special time of the year. Our first gift should be to Him who has given us all that we have so please be generous in giving your gift to your parish community this year. Your gift makes it possible for our parish to continue and grow in doing the work that Jesus calls us to do.
Invite someone back to Mass. We all know that Christmas is a time when many people choose to come to Mass even though they may not come every Sunday. We need to be welcoming to these brothers and sisters of ours and by our kindness encourage them to come to Mass every Sunday. If you have friends and relatives who do not regularly come to Mass, please encourage them to start coming each Sunday by sharing with them how important the Mass is in your own life. Let them know that coming together to worship God and give Him thanks for all He does for us really helps us through the week in ways that we do not even realize. Coming to Mass every Sunday is still the most important thing we do in our lives because nothing can bring us closer to God in this life than participating in Mass and receiving our Lord in Holy Communion.