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Oblate Blog: December 14, 2011

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WE WAIT IN JOYFUL HOPE:

What do you think about when you think of the coming of Christmas? As you look back on your life what did you think about when you were a youngster, when you were in the teens, and finally when you became an adult and gradually as you become an older person.

As I think back on my early life, at least as far back as I can remember, I can’t deny I would get very excited about Santa Claus. What would I get for Christmas, what would Santa bring me? Had I been a good boy? When I was quite young and we lived on a farm a couple times during the weeks before Christmas, Santa would suddenly look into the window of our house. That in itself scared me and my younger brother into trying to be good as Santa was watching.

As I became school age I remember always going to midnight Mass on Christmas. That became very important in my life and our life. We had a Catholic grade school and we had a pastor who liked solemn ceremonies so we would all have to serve at midnight Mass in some capacity. The Sisters would make a special effort to prepare us for this feast.

So from that time on, while I still looked forward to the gifts that Santa would hopefully bring, I began to see more and more that Christmas was about a lot more than just receiving gifts. It was about celebrating that greatest gift of all, God giving himself to us, sending his Son to bring us salvation. And at what a price! Eventually that little child whose birthday we celebrated at Christmas had to die and suffer much in order to bring us forgiveness of sins and new life.

But, we all know Jesus was born over 2000 years ago. How then is he going to come again this year and every year until the end of time? I think we can say that he comes again, especially in grace, every year. In other words at this Christmas in 2011, Jesus hopefully will come more perfectly into my heart. Jesus should mean more to me after this Christmas than he did a year ago. He loves me; hopefully I love him more than I did last year. We wait for this to happen in joyful hope.

When we take Jesus Christ out of Christmas then this feast simply becomes another holiday that comes and goes each year. As oblates I encourage each of you to make every effort to make Christmas the feast it is meant to be. If there is any feast that is a feast of love, it is this feast. God sends the Son out of love for us. We love God the Father and the Son for this, and we then try to take that same love to all those we know – family, friends, relatives and even strangers.

To each and every one of you, your families and friends, I wish a very Merry and Blessed Christmas! I will certainly remember you in my prayers and in my Christmas Masses.

Fr. Kenneth