My Brothers in Christ, Merry Christmas to you all!
I want you to know that during this most Blessed of Seasons, you and your loved ones will be in my prayers as I remember you in my Masses.
The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:10 – 14)
Who was born for us over two millennia ago? A Savior! Jesus Christ came to save us. One might ask: from what is He to save us? Since the beginning of time, mankind has struggled with sin. And through the first sin of Adam and Eve, death entered the world. The Christ Child came to free us from sin so that we might receive the Father’s Gift of Eternal Life. We cannot earn this Gift any more than we can save ourselves. The Father’s Gift of salvation, brought to us by Jesus, is truly a Gift. We cannot earn it, but we can lose it and we can reject it. Pride, arrogance and conceit are the “gifts” of satan who seeks to severe our bond with our Triune God. How do we reject these so called “gifts” and instead embrace the true Gift of the Father’s love for us manifested in the Christ Child? We need to become more like the Christ Child.
During Christmas dayMass, as I contemplated our Savior being born into such humble estate, I looked out over the congregation at all the beautiful infants present for the liturgy. I thought about my nephews and nieces, who are no longer infants, and my grandnephews and grandnieces, one of which was born this very month. And I thought about the great joy I have experienced from them being a part of my life. I have always held precious the times and opportunities in my life when I have been able to embrace, feed, change, and care for these little ones. Caring for them has taken a lot of work and may not have always led to the most pleasant of experiences (i.e. spit-ups and full diapers). Yet for me, it is precisely because of the challenge that is required in caring for infants that makes the labor so filled with love. And their simple smiles of gratitude have brought the greatest joy into my heart.
These little ones are completely dependent upon us for their care and must trust we will provide for the needs which they are incapable of meeting for themselves. It is in this state of humble reliance on others to which the Word of God entered as a Child. The Son of God was not too proud to allow Mary and Joseph to care for Him. Baby Jesus humbly turned completely to them for not only His human needs, but also to save Him from the dangers of the world of His time.
My Brothers, we need to humble ourselves as Christ did. We need to recognize our complete dependence upon God. He is the source of our salvation. Just as our hearts are filled with joy when one of our little ones reaches out to us to be loved and cared for, we need to understand that God rejoices when we reach out to Him and entrust ourselves to His care. The Christ Child was born vulnerable and powerless to the Holy Family in Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph rejoiced at the gift of the Christ Child and the opportunity to care for Him.
Embrace Love this day and every day. Let the new born King reign in your hearts and be filled with the Glory of God that the angels sang of on that first Christmas Night. When we turn completely to God, our Lord rejoices in our humble hearts opening to His glorious gift of salvation. Let the Gift of God’s favor rest in your souls today.
May the Lord Give You Peace!
Fr Timothy, T.O.R.