The Gift

A very Merry and Blessed Christmas to one and to all!

What a truly blessed experience this Christmas and the last 6 months have been. Fr Francis and I are so very impressed with all the various ministries here at St Angela Merici and all the behind the scenes volunteer work that happens here day after day.  From the care of our homeless friends to decorations to sound systems to faith formation and school plays. The Spirit of the St Angela Merici is alive and well in Brea! A big THANK YOU to all our volunteers and staff who make the ministry of Jesus Christ so rich and fruitful. Without you there would be no hands or feet or embrace of Jesus to make a difference in our world.

As we reflect on the birth of Jesus and how he has changed our world we recall how the Blessed Virgin Mother who, with Joseph her husband, must leave home and family to comply with the census, sending them almost a hundred miles away. We also consider the fact that Mary is pregnant, almost ready to deliver, and travelling about a 100 miles by donkey. Not ideal travelling conditions. This story of a young Mary and Joseph whose lives are turned upside down by the message of an angel is a story of great trust and sacrifice. A story of great hope for all the world.  Then there’s the shepherds: folks on the very fringes of society whose lives are considered insignificant and unclean, and yet they too have been chosen by the Lord to be great witnesses of this glorious event. They are witnesses to the birth of one who will forever change the course of human history, and the direction of every human heart and mind.  We recall the arrival of the three wise men or Kings. Theirs is also a story of great trust and hope. Leaving the safety of their homeland, following a star, a heavenly light that comes to hover over the manger and illuminates a newborn child, so precious, so pure and so full of love that even the very heavens are in awe. And how could we forget the splendid angels, whose heavenly voices fill the night skies with songs of praise and wonder?

This is, indeed, a night like no other: it’s a night that unites all generations, all cultures, all races and all people of good will. For on this night the very heavens are joined to earth, and God’s presence with his creation is experienced in a uniquely profound and beautiful way. A reality that lifts our hearts and fuels our song of joy. In the midst of such a glorious event how do we give thanks for this greatest of all gifts? Yes, Christmas is a time for giving and receiving gifts. And we love to share with loved ones but what gift can we bring to our newborn king this Christmas? Jesus is the true reason for the season. What gift would be fitting for the King of Kings? Perhaps a commitment to love others a little more deeply, to forgive others a little more easily? To be a people of dialogue and peace-building, who see the dignity of all and the potential in the least?  Perhaps our gift could be a stronger commitment to our Christian faith, to live it well and to let it guide our actions and words. To be part of a community of faith that gathers each week to give thanks and worship the newborn king who is Lord and Savior of all.   I know the greatest gift, the one gift that Jesus treasures more than any other gift, it’s the gift of our very hearts and souls. To give Jesus our lives. This is the gift that Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, and the 3 Kings gave to Jesus as they adored Him. May this be our gift to Jesus this Christmas and always.

May your Christmas and all your days be truly blest and Merry!

Fr Dave

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