A very Blessed Christmas and New Year to all of you!
One of my favorite scriptures for Christmas is the reading that is always read at the “Mass During the Night” which we know as the “Midnight Mass” because it is often celebrated at Midnight. Isaiah starts off saying, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.” That light is Jesus Christ! The reason we celebrate the Feast of Christmas is because our belief in the incarnation of Jesus who gives meaning to all of life. The powerful sign of his presence is “the baby in need of help and in poverty. Exactly the same sign has been given to us…God’s sign is simplicity…God’s sign is that he makes himself small for us.” (Pope Benedict XVI). As St Paul tells us Jesus became poor that we might become rich and he was born in a manger, a place where animals feed. The other day I was speaking to someone and they spoke about the manger and how it must have been a smelly place and uncomfortable. This person was struck by the thought of Jesus being born in the crudeness of a manger. Upon further reflection, he began to think about how he was often like that manger, dirty, and uncomfortable in short, he was one who knew the darkness. And yet into that darkness comes a great light, Jesus Christ, who changes everything.
All of us know the times when our hearts are like that manger. We all know times when our lives are unkempt, dirty, rough and smelly. It’s into that life as imperfect as it may be that Jesus wishes to enter. Pope Benedict in his reflections says that Jesus “comes as a baby—defenseless and in need of our help…He wants nothing other from us than out love, through which we spontaneously learn to enter into his feelings, his thoughts, and his will.” Christmas is about building that relationship with Jesus Christ. I pray that this Christmas is a time of great blessing for all of you and your families.
I am so grateful that you are present in my life. I want to thank you for your patience and understanding and for your collaboration with the parish in our work together here at St Joseph’s. I pray that Jesus enters your life in a powerful manner this Christmas and New Year’s. I will remember all of you in my Masses this Christmas.
Msgr Bernie Schmitz