Each year I pray about and seriously ponder the content of this special Christmas message. It comes as the fruit of prayer and of pastoral concern for all the souls entrusted to my care. Whether you read this message in the church bulletin or online, I hope and pray that it somehow touches the depths of your hearts and leads you to Jesus. O come let us adore Him!
Being a priest and a pastor is not too easy these days. Church attendance has dwindled. The teaching authority of the Catholic Church has been challenged and, at various times, disregarded. We, as a Church—the Body of Christ—battle secularism, materialism, indifferentism, and a whole lot of others isms. People have been disillusioned, let down and even scandalized by their spiritual leaders. Preaching the message of the Gospel, with its call for conversion, can often seem an insurmountable, uphill battle.
Why even bother to keep on trying?
Yet, against all odds, I continue to have great hope.
It is because of the great mystery that we once again celebrate: Jesus, the Son of God, who became one of us. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us . . . .” (John 1:14)
Take the time to contemplate any Nativity scene. The greatest story ever told, needs to be retold!
God loves us with such unfathomable love. Jesus becomes one of us. He lives here with us. He heals us. He teaches us. He forgives our sins. He gives us Himself in the Holy Eucharist. He freely suffers and dies for us. He redeems us. He desires that we have eternal life and that we spend this eternity with Him.
And this mystery—the mystery of God’s love for us—unfolds through the miraculous conception and birth of a helpless, innocent baby. It is a new life, who gives us new life!
This Christmas, I ask that you pray for a stronger faith in Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God. As we get to know Him and fall more deeply in love with Him, we can begin to realize how He is truly here for us when everyone and everything else fails. He gives meaning and purpose to our lives. He gives us hope. He embodies love. He is love.
In the end, our faith involves an intimate, personal relationship which God desires us to have with Him. It’s all about Jesus and His tremendous, self-giving love for us. Christmas is all about love—Love that becomes Incarnate!
Have a blessed Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year! Thanks so much for being here with us.
Please consider St. Joseph’s your spiritual home—at Christmas and always!
Fr. Ed Namiotka
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