In the name of Fathers Emmanuel, Vincent, Damian, Patrick and Brothers Gus and Ed along with myself, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.
It may come as a surprise to some to learn that the actual date of Christ’s birth is unknown. December 25 was chosen by Rome around the year 300 A.D. why this date?
Winter is a long, dark and dreary and I am sure before artificial light was invented it was a tough time for people to be filled with any hope. And as you know all of this was due to the fact that the sun had gone away. However, the people knew that at a certain point the sun began to come back, and things changed for the better. So they had a feast to celebrate this fact. It was known as the feast of the Unconquerable Sun-Sol Invictus.
Because it was a pagan feast the church chose December 25, which is close to the winter solstice to celebrate the birth of Christ. Instead of worshiping the sun – God, people were encouraged to worship Christ, the son of God. The church saw the coming of Jesus as fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah: “The people that lived in darkness have seen a great light” Jesus described his mission in similar terms when he said: “I am the light of the world.”
December is the darkest month of the year (in the northern hemisphere). It’s a time when we appreciate the value of light. Christmas means the coming of God’s light into the darkness of our world.
The liturgy is filled with references to light and the glory of God. Someone described Christmas as a pool of light in the inky darkness of winter.
Just think of how dark the world would be if the light of Christ had never shone. Many people feel very pessimistic today because of the world events that we live in.
· The shooting and killing of policemen.
· The concern over our children.
· The overcrowding of prison cells.
· The inability to pay bills.
· The injustices that take place in our society.
· The sense of loss of God in our culture.
· Our leaders not being what they are called to be “leaders”
And the list could continue. And when you think of some of those things and many more that have not been enunciated it can be very dreary, and dark and murky. Is there any light? Jesus tells us don’t be afraid, I came to be the light for you.
The teaching of Christ was truly a source of light to all who accepted him then and now. But it was above all, through Jesus’ deeds and encounters with people that his luminous goodness manifested itself. Countless numbers of people came to him in darkness and went away based in light.
I believe that our present Holy Father Pope Francis has become a light for many people particularly within our church and outside church. He’s putting into words and action the gospel message of Jesus.
Christ light was not lit in Bethlehem once and then extinguished. Unlike the sun, Christ light knows no setting. It continues to shine for all who believe in him and follow. I must emphasize in the words believe and follow. We must believe in Jesus because he is the true light, but we have to do more than just believe we have to follow and then take action.
The light of Christ is a persistent light, and has the power to draw people to its shining. The gospel is a persistent in defiant light, which no darkness can overpower.
Christ’s light, comes as a friend.
· It brings healing not hurt,
· freedom not oppression,
· life not death.
Those who follow him they will always have the light of life.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1:14)
And by making his dwelling among us he challenges us and calls us to be his light for others. No one can sit back, no one can sit on the sidelines all of us no matter who we are what our station in life is, we are called to be a light for others.
Story of young man that gives $100 to a beggar and see what happens. (Can be found on my Face book page)
A letter from a retreatant who became a light for others.
This is this coming year’s theme at the monastery!
How easy it is for me to feel like God has neglected me!
How hard it is for me to realize how much he does for me!
It is the unforeseen I am blessed with!
I was in Goodwill (how ironic the name!) back in the book section thumbing through a book when a girl came into that area explaining on here cell phone why she couldn’t make it over for the Thanksgiving dinner. She had about 10 little outfits for a 1 year old. Her voice was distraught & I could see struggle all over her. An overwhelming feeling came over me & took over my actions next. I know now it was the Holy Spirit! I hustled out of that area and up toward the register and found the first employee I saw, a Spanish girl. I attempted to communicate what I wanted to do, (no easy task!!) I wanted to give the employee a $20.00 bill to hold at the register to pay for the girl’s handful of 1 yr. old outfits. The conversation was comical in that it had to all be done with hand signals. She couldn’t understand why I was doing this. We were skulking behind columns and ducking behind clothes racks until I could point out the girl. A couple weeks later I go into Goodwill again & the employee came running up to me & stated to explain (in hand gestures) what happened. I had forgotten about it. She clasped both her hands in a praying gesture, put them on her heart & then raised them to her cheeks and made the crying gesture. She didn’t have to say anything! We both stood there staring at each other with tears welling up in our eyes. I pointed to her heart and then upwards and then she did the same! That is what I consider a blessed day, a successful day in the eyes of God! These opportunities are all over out there. I see them occasionally and listen. I need to keep vigilant watch because I believe this is why we are here; to be selfless, to make a difference in others’ lives, unforeseen, with no reward other than the feeling of Gods warmth around us.
There’s a lot of work to do, for all of us!
This is why Christ came!
This is what Christmas is; Christmas is 24/7 year round!!!
Have a Blessed Christmas and New Year!