I take this time to wish you and your families a happy and holy Christmas season and a blessed New Year! Is it my imagination or does every year seems to go by faster and faster?
In the Church, the Celebration of Christmas lasts for eight days. The joy of this wonderful solemnity is too great to contain within a single day! We refer to this time as the Octave of Christmas. Most people would probably be surprised to find out that the Christmas season actually extends to January 11, 2015—the Baptism of the Lord. Sadly, by then many will not be in the Christmas spirit any longer because of how early the commercial Christmas preparations begin. By the time Christmas arrives, people are ready to take down their decorations. They often seem exhausted from all of the things that they feel pressured into buying or doing.
With Christmas upon us, please try to keep “Christ” at the center of the celebration. Society may tell us that we need to shop and exchange gifts, to cook, to clean the house, to party and to do other things. All of this seems to add to increased tension and lack of peace in peoples’ lives. Our faith tells us to pray and to ready our hearts for Christ. This spiritual preparation can bring us peace, happiness and joy that the world cannot give. What type of Christmas do we want to have? The choice is always ours to make.
I thank all who work so hard in the parish and continue to strengthen our Christian community. Christianity is not like a “spectator sport” where we simply watch and cheer from a distance. Rather, it truly involves active participation and a life commitment: prayer, attendance at weekly Mass, a sacramental life, Christian service, love of neighbor, etc. Why not make it a New Year’s resolution to join a committee, become a lector or other liturgical minister, take a bible-study class, assist at PREP (religious education), or volunteer at a parish activity in 2015? Our parish family will be only as strong and vibrant as the people who faithfully participate in it.
Be assured that all members of this parish are remembered in my daily prayers and Masses. May I ask a small remembrance in your prayers and Masses as well?
On behalf of Fr. Larry, Fr. Alvaro, Deacon Bob, our Sisters, parish staff and me, have a blessed and peace-filled Christmas!