Today is the Fourth and last Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve which means that tomorrow 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 very 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.
Christmastime 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.
For the many people who find Christmas difficult because of the loss of loved ones over the years, making Christmas not feel the same, we must try to remember the joy of Christmas lies in the presence of Jesus in our lives and the comfort and joy that only He can give us. It is nice to remember the Christmases of the past, but that should not in any way diminish the joy we can know by prayerfully celebrating Christmas and allowing ourselves to focus on the present joy of knowing the love of God and sharing that love with others, especially those less fortunate than ourselves.
I am very grateful to our St. Vincent de Paul Society for their hard work in assisting the poor during this Christmas Season and to all who were so generous in their donations to those in need. It is truly a beautiful witness to the love of God when so many are so generous to their brothers and sisters in Christ. May God bless you and your families for all your generosity and kindness to others, especially those in need. I pray this spirit of generosity will continue to grow stronger and stronger in our parish family.