Blessed, Merry Christmas!
“Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.”
Advent has come to an end and we rejoice, once again, that Jesus is born. There is so much to reflect on as we enter the Christmas season. I thought I had completed this reflection and then I heard our pastor’s sermon this morning and my reflection took a different turn. He spoke of the “essential characters” of Advent and Christmas…
Zechariah, who becomes mute when he questioned God’s power to have Elizabeth conceive and bear a son. When Zechariah writes “His name is John,” he can speak once again. How often do we ignore God or say “no” to his plans for us? Joseph and Mary are the “essentials” of this story. They leave home, come to Bethlehem, have no place to stay and end up having Jesus born in a stable. They don’t complain.
Jesus is the “most essential.” God comes to earth as a baby because he loves us so much. Every reading of this Christmas story shows how the people waited for the Messiah. We know as we reflect all year that some didn’t accept Jesus and continue to wait. Are you excited this Christmas that the Savior is born? It isn’t the same old story to reflect on because we are different than we were a year ago. Each of us has been changed because of the pandemic, loss of job, grief over the loss of family or friends, financial worries, wondering where God is in all of this.
Next weekend we will listen to the passage in Luke about Joseph and Mary bringing Jesus to the temple to be circumcised. Enter two more “essential” people to our story – Simeon and Anna. They are two of my favorite people in the scriptures. They have been praying and waiting for the Messiah. When he saw Jesus, Simeon said: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”
Anna, who was a prophetess, never left the temple. She prayed day and night. When she saw Jesus, she gave thanks to God and told everyone around her waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem about him. Do we tell everyone around us about our intimate relationship with God? Do we need to pray more? Read scripture?
This season is a season of grace. The Church, in her wisdom, gives us Advent and Christmas to pray and reflect on the great gift of the Incarnation, Jesus becoming man, becoming like us. Take the time during this grace-filled season to reflect on one of the essential people in the scriptures that will be read at daily and Sunday masses. Which one speaks to you? Which one is God calling you to know better?
May these days of great excitement give us the peace that God promises. May you and your family find time to discuss the true meaning of Christmas and the “essential” people that are part of “The Greatest Story Ever Told.”
~Sr. Joanne Callahan, U.S. Province Leader – Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk
St. William’s Students Make Christmas Cards for Sisters
Thank you to the students in 2nd and 3rd grade at St. William the Abbot School in Seaford, NY for making these beautiful Christmas cards for the Ursuline Sisters who reside at Maria Regina Nursing Home and Braemar Assisted Living. The Sisters were delighted to receive them! Wishing everyone a Blessed and Merry Christmas!