Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We’ve all heard the expression, “Keep Christ in Christmas.” It’s become a constant refrain we use this time of year and a reminder we see all around us, especially on the ever popular Knights of Columbus magnet. But it’s something we certainly need to hear, and need to hear often. Not just during this time, but throughout the year, because most of us can honestly admit we struggle to keep Christ at the center. We can get distracted by all our other concerns and fail to remember that without him our lives are empty of meaning and purpose and richness. Christmas, then, is meant to be a time to refocus ourselves and put things back in perspective. It shouldn’t be just an anomaly in our lives where we’re more religious, but rather it should spur us on to make changes throughout the year.
And the greatest change it should bring is a greater devotion to the Holy Mass. When we give God that first hour of our week, we remember that He comes before everything else. No matter what challenges we face from day to day, we remember He is the standard to judge every decision. Especially if anything goes against our faith, it helps prepare us to sacrifice whatever it may be, to ensure that we do not imperil our souls and our relationship with God for something passing. Because no matter how difficult, God gives us the strength to do it by feeding us with His Body and Blood in the Eucharist. Each week we are given a miniChristmas to carry forward the presence of Christ in our hearts.
Even when we are committed to the Mass though, even for priests, it can still be difficult to keep this perspective, so you will notice a slight change to the altar beginning this Christmas. From now on, there will be a crucifix and candles on the altar. It may seem odd to have something between the priest and the people, but it is a powerful reminder of what the Mass is all about – Jesus Christ. He should be at the center and we should never forget that. So often the priest can become our focus because we can’t help but watch him as he represents Christ, but that crucifix reminds us he is only a vessel. The recent darkness in our Church should be a powerful reminder of that. Moreover, for the priest it is a blessing to see Christ among the people, to look upon Christ and remember that it is to him that we address all our prayers on behalf of the community. A family has generously donated the set, and I believe it will serve as a valuable sign to us all of what this season, what the Mass, what our entire lives should be all about.
With this being the last bulletin before Christmas, I do want to take a moment before I end to wish everyone a Blessed Christmas. It has been said that a priest finally feels truly at home when Christmas comes around, and I can definitely say this is true for me. Your love, support, and kindness in this time of transition have been a blessing I could never adequately thank you for, and I thank God each day for the opportunity to serve all of you here at Notre Dame. I promise to strive each day to keep Christ at the center of my life, remembering that I am called to serve him in all of you, and I ask that we continue to pray for each other.
This season may we all remember to keep Christ in Christmas, and just importantly keep Christ in every Monday and Thursday, in every basketball game and homework assignment, in every meal we cook and every broken faucet we fix, because when Christ is in all of that, his joy will be in all of us, and our joy will be complete.
Yours in Christ,