Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Day 2009

This is the day when the night was so singular: "Once in Royal David's City." It is a unique moment not only in each Christian heart but in the hearts and minds of many others.

What does it mean to me? This is what each of us should be asking ourselves: "What does the birth of Jesus some 2000 years ago mean to me?" Putting aside the Jingle Bells, the Deck the Halls With Boughs of Holly, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, I truly need to know how this sacred night has impacted my life.

As a priest, my heart is filled with the many friends of mine who are hurting at this very moment: a cousin who has not been able to find employment; a brother and sister for whom health is a challenge; a priest-friend who has been unjustly accused of misconduct; a lady who is trapped by immigration laws; the armed forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and their families painfully suffering their absence, especially their children and many others.

As well, my heart is filled with much joy as I think about those who have achieved some successes; a community of unique friends that I have begun to work with; an elderly neighbor who told me how grateful she is that there is another Christmas in her history; a friend who now must be relieved that she will have health insurance; a niece who has so wonderfully made the transition to high school life.

I was so delighted to be able to celebrate Christmas vigil with my family and close friends yesterday evening ... it truly was a children's liturgy. Likewise I was so blessed to be concelebrating Mass at my second home, St. Jane de Chantal parish as well as at my last post as a Pastor, Our Lady of Victory Church.

So what is all of this about? I share the pains and joys that all of us encounter each day. However, on this special day, do not these ordinary events, these challenges and these moments of abundance have a much deeper meaning as I place myself just outside the simple, smelly stable where the Son of God rests in the loving embrace of his mother and under the watchful eyes of his foster father. As I look upon Jesus, the newborn child, my hearts bring to him, even in these early moments of his life, my thoughts of petition and gratitude.

As I look upon this child, I know something about myself that is truly an abundance that can only be attributed to his love and care for me and all of us. I know that this is truly the Christmas gift I long from deep within my heart.

I pray that you are with me as well in these thoughts. May your Christmas Day be a moment of abundant love from your God and your loved ones.