December 25, 2018 Christmas Fr Jim Miller

Dec 27, 2018

The Nativity of the Lord – Christmas

Reading 1 IS 9:1-6

 Responsorial Psalm PS 96: 1-2, 2-3, 11-12, 13.

  1. (Lk 2:11)Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.

Reading 2 TI 2:11-14

 Alleluia LK 2:10-11

  1. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 2:1-14

Christmas--2018

 

            Merry Christmas to you all!   I have a gift for you as you leave this evening(today).   It is a book by Matthew Kelly entitled “The Biggest Lie In The History Of Christianity”.   I think you will find it an easy read with many questions to reflect upon.  For example he writes, “Sooner or later we realize that what the world has to offer is simply not enough to satisfy us.  It is only then that most of us turn to four of life’s biggest questions:  Who am I?  What am I here for?  What matters most?  What matters least?        I invite each family to take a book home whether you are a member or not but you do have to make a commitment to read it!!

            My preparations for Christmas began around Thanksgiving as I wrote my Christmas Letter that I send out to family and some of my closest friends in former parishes.  Preparations continued as I saw volunteers decorating for Advent and then for Christmas.   Of course I have heard Christmas music for weeks already and I do have a Christmas tree up along with my Nativity set.   The “Giving Tree” was filled up with tags that were returned attached to gifts as we gave out 470 gifts this year to 28 families!   People kept stepping up to help us with the gifts.   Some offered extra money for any tags left over and some gave extra money or took more tags and returned with gifts.   It was wonderful to see people’s generous spirit. 

            I want to thank all those who helped with decorating our church environment and all those who have practiced to make great music.   I thank all of our liturgical ministers and especially each and every one of you who are present.   You make this a real celebration of God’s love.

            Jesus’ birth brings salvation, conquers sin and brings Christ the Messiah to live with us – an astonishing reality indeed.   God constantly looks for ways to love us but too often we get distracted by what we think will make us happy only to find ourselves dissatisfied and wanting something more.   Sometimes we have to sacrifice something we like to find something better.  I remember when I was first ordained and I went out for a run with the cross-country team on a beautiful Fall day in Waukon, Iowa and I heard the church bell ring which reminded me that I had to get back to the rectory for a shower before celebrating Mass and I wished I did not have to go.   Later I was celebrating Mass and I had this feeling of how great it was that I could be there with the Lord and receive communion and share it with others and then I was sorry for even thinking that I had wanted to stay out on the cross-country course.  Holy Communion brought me so much love and peace.   

            The good news the shepherds heard that Christmas night still is comforting to believers hearts and ears this Christmas:  “For behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy, …For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord” (Lk 2:10-11).

            The amazed shepherds rushed to see this good news for themselves.  Yet today Jesus the son of David and son of God still is called Messiah.  Christmas still celebrates God’s bonding with his creation.

            From his teaching and by his preaching, Jesus gives his disciples all they need to prepare themselves for judgment.  They will learn how to love God, their neighbors and, above all themselves.  This love will save them.

            Jesus coming on that first Christmas illustrates how real God’s desire is to save us.

            St. Teresa of Calcutta expressed it to her sisters in this way.  “I worry some of you still have not really met Jesus—one-to-one—you and Jesus alone.  We may spend time in chapel—but have you seen with the eyes of your soul how He looks at you with love?  Do you really know the living Jesus—not from books, but from being with Him in your hearts?  Have you heard the living words He speaks to you?

            Ask for the grace.  He is longing to give it.  Never give up this daily intimate contact with Jesus as a real living person—not just an idea.

            Be careful of all that can block that personal being in touch with the living Jesus.  The hurts of life, and sometimes your own mistakes—may make you feel it is impossible that Jesus really loves you, is really clinging to you.  This is a danger for all of you.  And so sad, because it is completely opposite of what Jesus is really wanting, waiting to tell you.

            Not only He loves you, even more—He longs for you.  He misses you when you don’t come close.  He thirsts for you.  He loves you always, even when you don’t feel worthy.  Even if you are not accepted by others, even by yourself sometimes—He is the one who always accepts you.

            My children, you do not have to be different for Jesus to love you.  Only believe—You are precious to Him.  Bring all you are suffering to His feet—only open your heart to be loved by Him as you are.  He will do the rest.”

Remember the true spirit of Christmas is that we are loved by God.

Question to ponder:

Is there room in your “inn” for Jesus, or shall he look for another?

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