Christ is born! Let us rejoice!
The trees are decorated, gifts are purchased and exchanged, various foods are prepared, businesses have their Christmas (or holiday) parties, cards are sent, students return home from college, families get together from far and wide to share good times, etc. etc.
I hope part of the routine for is also attendance at Mass. By the way, I hope you take time to examine the last part of the word Christmas. The word itself comes from the Old English for Christ’s Mass.
Usually the earliest possible Masses on Christmas Eve have been the best attended in most parishes to which I have been assigned. They were usually filled with children. Perhaps, there was a Christmas concert or pageant beforehand. There is indeed something special about that most holy of nights, especially when seen through the eyes of a child!
Some have contended that the current chosen date for Christmas was a Christianizing of the pagan winter solstice. (Catholic author Dr. Michael Barber addresses this and other questions about Christmas in his book, The True Meaning of Christmas: The Birth of Jesus and the Origins of the Season. He contends that there is no conclusive evidence to assert this proposition.) What is essential for Christians is Jesus took human flesh and was born at a particular point in time. That is what we celebrate at Christmas.
Christmas is about Christ. Although things can get rather complicated and convoluted for some, Christmas is still about Christ and not Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, the Grinch, etc. It’s not primarily about gift giving, family dinners or various other secular traditions.
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. (Luke 2: 10-11)
God chose to become a man for us. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (Jn. 1:14) Timelessness entered into time. The almighty and all-powerful God became a helpless, vulnerable infant. The creator of all life became subject to suffering and death. The infinite majesty of God became finite. God walked this very earth. He could be seen, felt and touched.
When you peer into the manger this Christmas, realize that before you is a glimpse of the tremendous love that God has for you and me, as evidenced through the Incarnation of His only-begotten Son.
On behalf of the sisters and entire staff that serve our parish, we wish you and your families a happy, holy Christmas and a blessed New Year! May the love of God which took human form in the person of Jesus be honored and revered in every human person that we meet.
I thank God that you have made St. Thomas More Parish your spiritual home! Merry Christmas!
Fr. Ed Namiotka