Merry Christmas

12-25-2022From the Pastor's DeskMonsignor Ellsworth R. Walden

Merry Christmas! How good it is to have this season of joy, hope, and love. And the more we can focus on the true meaning of Christmas the more hope, peace, and joy we experience. There is a great difference between being on the outside looking in and being on the inside looking out. All during Advent we read about the hopes of the Jewish people and God’s promise for a Savior through the words of the prophets, especially the prophet Isaiah. Today, Christmas, we celebrate the fulfillment of this promise. God did not send someone else in His place to be our Savior, He came Himself in the person of Jesus. His entry into our world was not one of triumphalism, fanfare, and public acclaim, but one of humility, unconditional love, and unwavering mercy. God did not use those in power and authority in the secular world or in the Jewish religion, but the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph. In these two very beautiful people we see absolute faith in God, their love for God, and their love for one another. The Blessed Virgin Mary surely had the hopes and dreams of every woman who has been engaged to be married. St. Joseph was surely a good man who had the same hopes and dreams as her. But in both of them we see how we become more than we ever think we can or aspire to be. The Blessed Virgin Mary carried God Himself in her womb for nine months, held Him in her arms as her child, and nursed him as His mother. St. Joseph had the blessing of God’s trust to be Mary’s husband and the man who had the unique privilege of raising Jesus as an infant and young child into adulthood.

Both the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph trusted God totally and completely and did things they never imagined, they lived with God Himself in the child Jesus. We all have our challenges in life. What kind of light and strength does our faith in God give us? Is He at the center and core of who we are and what we do? We carry those we love in our hearts. The longer we love the more life giving and fulfilling our lives are. We all go from infancy to adulthood and its responsibilities, but we are ever dependents. We depend upon and need each other to be fully alive and, even more, to allow our gratitude to inspire us to experience and find pure joy. In Jesus, Mary and Joseph we see pure faith, hope, love, and joy. They faced many challenges together, each trusting in God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and one another.

Through the technology of computers and the internet we have instant knowledge and communication at our fingertips. Through the gift and vision of faith we have the constant and unwavering love and presence of God. In Jesus we see how God is the gift of the Way, Truth, and Life. When God is not the center of our lives we lose hope, experience confusion, and fill our hearts with restless fears and tension. Jesus is the gift of God Himself to us as individuals and through us to one another as the Church. Once again our love brought added joy through our Parish Outreach Reach for a Star Program. Every day we are a gift when we are generous with our time, talents, and resources. It is an act of the will that defines love and makes love the most powerful force we possess and experience. 

I will love you and honor you all the days of my life. These are the concluding words of the marriage vows at a wedding. At Christmas we are reminded that they are the words of God to us. Jesus is the Word of God. How much are those words our words to God? We live in a world where all too often we see the darkness of anger, conflicts, disagreements, and divisions. Jesus is not just one more choice or option - He is the Way, Truth, and Life. All we have to do is to see the gift of Jesus Himself at all times, in every situation. Our Christmas note to Him is seen on how deeply we let Him into our lives and how deeply we become part of His life. May we have the faith, courage, and humility of the Holy Family. May we have their focus and trust in God and know their joy, intercession, encouragement, and inspiration. Merry Christmas!

“When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us. So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.” (Luke 2:15-20)