It will soon be Christmas – that time of year that we all look forward to. For many, Christians and non-Christians alike, Christmas is the time reserved for being with those we love and care for in a special way. It is a time for fellowship, the exchange of gifts, and feasting on favorite foods as we listen to ‘Christmas music.’ Not everyone is able to observe the Yuletide Season with such frivolity. Those not so fortunate actually dread the Christmas Season for it reminds them of what is truly missing from their lives, leaving them with a sense of loneliness, emptiness and sometimes despair. Indeed both Christians and non-Christians can easily get so caught up in the celebration of Christmas or lost in a state of loneliness and despair that they fail to truly appreciate and give thanks to God for the gift he gave us that first Christmas – the gift of himself. No greater gift could ever be received!
For in giving us himself, God gave us the very best there is!!! Here a question for you to ponder over – why is it that we sometimes have trouble receiving and appreciating God’s gift? Why is that we are willing to jump through hoops, drive long distances, sometimes get marooned in airports, just so we could be with family and friends while shutting the door on the one who loves us the most? We often talk about our love for God and of our sincere desire to be with him, but fail to make time for him in our lives. Bishop William H. Love of Albany, New York puts it this way – see if you can identify with his experience: “I am ashamed to think of how many times I allow other things to come between me and the Lord. I can’t tell you how many times I have failed despite my best intentions to spend more time with the Lord in prayer, reading and meditating on his word. Sometimes, I just feel that I am stumbling through life in the shadow of darkness rather than walking in the light of his peace.” Does it feel the same for you – well you are not alone. Friends the gift God gave our world that very first Christmas – the gift of his Son, the gift that lives and dwells in through the Holy Spirit, is a gift unlike any other.
The gifts that you and I often work so hard to buy or make (lovingly and thoughtfully) to give friends and loved ones at Christmas, ultimately will break, wear out, get used up, outgrown, or be stored away only to be forgotten. In a word, they can’t be compared to God’s gift. Let me as your priest encourage you this Christmas to think again of His gift to us. And as we do so, may he bless each of us this Christmas with a burning desire to invite him into our family’s gatherings or to be with us if we will be alone. Let me also take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a Happy and Holy Christmas Season and to remind you that no greater gift can be given or received than the gift of God’s love perfectly shared with us through the Lord Jesus Christ. Do accept from Genevieve, Eugenia, Cassandra, Pennela, Neil, and myself, our best wishes at this time.