After four (4) short weeks of preparation for the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, the Christmas season is finally here. Just as Mary and Joseph anticipated and prepared for Jesus’ birth, we prepare to celebrate our Christmas traditions with family and friends. Our preparations probably included planning our Christmas menus and shopping for gifts and groceries for our loved ones in anticipation of gathering together. During your gatherings with family and friends, encourage your children to ask about traditions that were practiced by their ancestors. Encourage your guests to reminisce about their Christmas traditions so that they can be passed on to future generations. Remember to give thanks to the past generations for these wonderful memories.
The Prophet Isaiah proclaimed, “For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her vindication shines forth like the dawn and her victory like a burning torch.” Isaiah would not be quiet in his time. We should not be quiet in our time. We are so blessed to live in a country where we don’t have to be silent. We can wish everyone we meet Merry Christmas with great joy. We can publicly profess our Catholic faith and openly celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Several years ago I periodically started reading my Bible. The more I read it, the more regularly I began to read it. It quickly became a daily routine. I always skipped the genealogies in Matthew’s Gospels because I thought that they were dry and boring. But thanks to one of my scripture professors at Notre Dame Seminary, I came to truly appreciate the Gospels of Matthew because they tell about Jesus’ family tree. All of Jesus’ ancestors were sinners, and some were even grave sinners. We are all sinners, and our ancestors were too. We need to admit our sins, learn from them, be truly sorry for them, and try not to sin again. It doesn’t matter what our ancestors did or what we have done, Jesus Christ became man to save all sinners!
This should prove to us that we need Jesus Christ to be our Savior. Let us take Jesus into our lives and move forward so that we may draw nearer and nearer to God. Remember that every time we greet someone with “Merry Christmas,” it’s a chance for us to wish them hope, joy, peace, and love. This is the fullness of its meaning. Our Responsorial Psalm said, “Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.” Let us sing the goodness of the Lord in our very lives today and throughout this Christmas season.
The other day I was walking along the sidewalk and greeted a mother and her little son. The child knew what Christmas was all about and wished me Merry Christmas. The impact that the wish had inspired me to remember all that we celebrate today, so let our greeting today be full of the meaning of Christ. The birth of Jesus on Christmas morning allows the mystery of our faith to take the next step in living our faith. I pray that our Merry Christmas today may have the same impact that the child had on me.
May Christ’s coming today change your hearts and the hearts of those that you greet this Christmas season. This Christmas message expresses my heartfelt desire that you and your family experience a deeper awareness of Christ’s love for you as we joyfully celebrate his birth. I am pleased that your journey to Bethlehem brings you to our parish church. On behalf of the priests, deacons, parish staff, and myself, we extend to you and your family a Blessed and Merry Christmas! May Christ shower abundant blessings upon you and your family in this coming New Year.