Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas with a Twist

I hope you got everything you wanted for Christmas.  Really.  I just wish you knew what it was that you truly wanted.

The same goes for me, too, of course.  Often we are unaware of our more authentic desires especially around Christmas time.  They tend to get swallowed up by the more immediate, material trimmings of the season.  Now Christmas, as we all know, isn’t about the presents and decorations (though these things have their significance and value.)  The gifts remind us of the Gift that God gave us in Christ.  The decorations can remind us of the way the Lord’s grace adorns our soul through the redemption He won for us. We even get to have time with friends and family and gorge ourselves (avoiding gluttony of course) with our favorite holiday treats.  
But wait, there’s more!

It’s the Christmas music, right?  Maybe it’s the snow (for us midwesterners at least)?  The time off of school/work?  The cute Christmas outfits (for the ladies)? The Muppet Christmas Carol (arguable the best Christmas movie ever made)?  
What else could we possibly desire?

I will pray that you discover your restlessness this Christmas.  You’re welcome.  It really is a gift to know how much we long for peace and joy.  To desire something one does not possess is called “hope” and I *hope* that this Christmas you let yourself notice your own spiritual poverty; your own lack of inner rest (to whatever extent it may exist for you.)  Have you been away from God? From Church?  Please come back.  We love you here in the Catholic Church.  You are wanted.  
Your presence (and absence!) makes a difference to our community in ways we may only understand in Heaven.  
Part of our restlessness is because we can separate ourselves from God and His family (the Church.)  
A peaceful conscience and the life of God in your heart is just a confessional visit away.  

May your restlessness never let you rest; never let you settle.  For us Americans (as opposed to those in #Aleppo, Syria or any other war torn region) it’s easy to be deceived into think we couldn’t possibly want anything more; and, if we did want it, we would just need to save up or ask for it for Christmas.  However, as 2016 draws to a close I sincerely pray that you become more and more aware of the One that we are too often unaware of - Jesus.  He is real.  He does love you.  He really is God become man, born in a backwater town, placed in a feeding trough in a stable only to grow up to become our heart’s food; the Bread of Life in Holy Communion.  Jesus desires to satisfy our hungry hearts.  The greatest gift we can offer Him for His birthday is to allow Him to give Himself to us.  Strange isn’t it?  It is better to give than to receive.  So let us give Jesus what He wants.  He wants to take all of our sin and replace it with all of His love.  Perhaps this Christmas you can discover the greatness of your hunger for God encountering the 
greatness of His hunger to fill you; to love you.  

Let Him love you this Christmas.  The Christ-child isn’t the only one that needs to be held during this Silent Night.