What Is It About These Days?

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

Yes, there is the seasonal stress with many feeling there is too much to do and not enough time and resources to meet our needs and wants. Nevertheless, something can put a skip in our step in these days as we rush toward Christmas. For me it happens when I am quiet enough to hear a beautiful piece of music or walk around the town at eventide enjoying the lights and decorations in homes and parks. There is an uplifting, a sense of hope percolating, as we recall the mystery of the birth of Jesus Christ.

This is the season of Hope. More people are philanthropic, responding to the Globe Santa, the giving trees at the Parish, and countless other invitations to assist those in need. I just walked past the fire house on Winthrop St. and noticed the sign on the door promoting a toy drive for children in the town. And of course, the Salvation Army volunteers are ringing their bells all over the city.

Even in the most secular circles, the month of December running up to the 25th includes all kinds of holiday activities from parties and dinners to frenzied shopping for gifts both big and small and the mailing of tons of Christmas cards.

How is it that the birth of a child in a remote village stable 2000 years ago brings the world into such a state wherein acts of kindness, generosity, celebration, and gratitude become common. Moreover, everyone is more upbeat from the giddiness of children to the smiles of grandparents. It seems as if for this tiny window of time, Christmas Angels touch us and our attention is drawn to something bigger and so much more than ourselves.

Jesus Christ is born and the weary world rejoices. The generosity of God in sharing His Son with humankind brings a hope beyond measure. Every person, without exception, is included in God’s plan to know Love, mercy, and salvation. We are the recipients – God acts first.

Therefore, it is for us to respond, and we do, each in his or her own way. For some in these days, pain, grief, and brokenness might be exasperated because of lost loved ones, setbacks, and disappointments. Yet for most, these days find us delighted to hear from old friends in lovely Christmas cards and intrigued to find a fitting gift for someone special. We look forward to the time off from work and the holiday meals and gatherings with family and friends.

On Christmas Eve and morning, we go to Church and hear the story once again of Joseph and Mary seeking shelter. And finding none, they settle in a stable in the village of Bethlehem, David’s City. There, in that humble place, the Son of God was born. He came out of Love, brought a message of Love, asks us to live in that Love, and to share that love with others. And we do, for a very little while.

– Fr. Ronan

Fourth Sunday of Advent
December 21/22, 2019

In today’s Gospel we hear of the coming of Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” We celebrate three Advents: the birth of Christ, his Second Coming, and his presence in the world today. Our daily lives are attended by God’s presence. Indeed, “God is with us.”
The Good News of Christ’s Incarnation is that we are the sign, the “sacrament,” of Christ’s presence in the world.
People are supposed to see us, see how we love one another, see how we treat the stranger among us, see how we give comfort to the poor and afflicted, and share the Good News with joy.
They see how good stewards are the light of Christ.
And there can be no possible response except to say: “God is here!”