All through the Advent season we are asked to reflect on our need to prepare and to be prepared, to make ourselves ready to receive the Light of the World into our lives, because on Christmas Day we celebrate His entrance into this world, Jesus’ birth to a virgin in Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago.
While time has marched on, so too has God’s word, so too has His love and so too has His church. We, His church today, take the opportunity given to us by the miracle of Christmas to bring our lives closer to Jesus through prayer, reconciliation and the celebration of the holy Eucharist in community.
Pope Francis helps us to see that Christmas is a time to be confident. “God never gives someone a gift they are not capable of receiving,” he said. “If he gives us the gift of Christmas, it is because we all have the ability to understand and receive it.”
Ultimately, we all have a calling to take into the world the gift of Christmas, by reaching into ourselves and bringing out what is kind, generous and loving. It is helpful to remember that Jesus came to us out of love, and that He wants us to find ways to share his love with others. “This is my commandment: Love one another as I love you.” [John 15:12]. Christmas is about love. We can express that love in a range of ways. Here are just three that seem very appropriate.
Comfort those who suffer. This time of year highlights financial struggles and hardships. Offer the gift of love by calling your parish outreach office at (516) 764-0048, ext. 2530 to learn how you can help others in need.
Offer the gift of yourself. The holidays can be sad for those who are alone. Spending time with someone else –especially when you don’t have much to spare—is one of the most precious ways to care.
Forgive. There is no better time to offer forgiveness to someone who has wronged you, or to ask forgiveness of someone you may have hurt. Forgiveness is a powerful form of love in action.
On behalf of the St. Anthony’s Parish community, our priests, deacons, staff and all of our dedicated parishioners, I wish you the joy, comfort and blessings of this Christmas Season to continue throughout the year ahead. We welcome you and your families to join us for the sacred liturgy of Christmas and for Christmas events at St. Anthony’s throughout the season. Visit our parish website at stanthonyoceanside.org.