Christmas is here! I think I can speak for all the members of the pastoral team and all the staff in wishing everyone a happy and holy celebration of Jesus’ birth.
I’ve told the story before, and probably will again: I still remember clearly a scene when I was in Grade 6. Sr. Philomena asked the class which was more important, Christmas or Easter. I said Christmas; most of the class said Easter. She said that Easter was the correct answer, because anybody can be born; only God can rise from the dead. She didn’t convince me then, and I still haven’t changed my mind. Of course, Easter is supremely important; the resurrection of Christ from the dead is the basis for our faith. Yet he could never have died had he not first been born. I still find it amazing that God decided to come and be part of the history of the human race, of our history—and not as an observer, but rather as one of us! That is an extraordinary claim, yet that is our faith. No other religion says that their God became fully human, yet remained fully God. Not only did God become human, he came as a child born in difficult circumstances. St. Luke tells us that he was born in a makeshift place in Bethlehem, several days journey from his hometown of Nazareth. Then early in his life St. Matthew tells us he was forced to become a refugee, having to flee into Egypt. It’s not what we would expect to happen to our God.
Today Christmas tends to be a hectic time. By the time you’re reading this, though, so much will be in the past. We celebrate on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and then it’s over. Time to clean up and get ready for the next holiday—which, in the stores, will be Valentine’s Day. For the Church, though, it’s different. These past four weeks we’ve been in Advent, and now the Christmas season begins. I invite you to at least leave up your nativity set until the feast of the Epiphany. Christmas officially ends with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which this year falls on Monday, January 9. During all this time be assured of my prayer that the Christ Child be born again into your hearts, and that he may fill you with the blessings of life and joy.