Archive for December 27th, 2011


I love it all. The brightly adorned altar, the fully packed squeezed-in-the pew feeling, the full volume chorus coming from the choir, my fellow church-goers singing the Christmas carols. I love the expectancy in the air — yes, the celebration of the birth of Jesus is about to begin at the first Christmas Mass on Christmas eve afternoon.

I love our granddaughter arriving and calling out loud from the aisle to me distantly down the “saved-space” for them in the pew, “Grandma! this is my Christmas dress!” and then being a wiggly presence as she waits to go up the aisle at communion so she can see Jesus, which she continuously protests she cannot from where we saved seats in the back of the church.

I love the pretty young girls, decked out in beauty; I love the young boys, more “freshly scrubbed” than usual and twiching in their unfamiliar shirt collars grazing their necks.

I love the muffled sounds throughout the church as we rise, kneel, sit and listen to the message and story of Christmas. I like watching families in the pews who seem a little more present to each other rather than simply sitting next to each other at regular Sunday Masses.  

Today, Father Jim’s focus is on Presence. That is what Christ means to us. His mood is uplifted and enhanced I think from the sheer number of us who surround him at the celebration of the Mass. Here and now, we can believe in the good – goodness is our basic nature — that can always be returned to after mistakes, misjudgment, or mean behavior occurs.

Before the opening of presents, we can think of the Presence that has been, is and always will be present to us through our Faith. Today, the Faith of my Fathers is in this church with me and my heart swells with joy as I express it in song and prayer. I feel my parents and grandparents who raised me up – their presence, their teachings, and their joys over all the Christmas holidays we shared together. I say a prayer of thanks and gratitude for them.

I look at my family sharing the pew and of one other daughter and her family celebrating Mass in their parish who we will be with tomorrow. I give thanks for their presence, their love and support, and the community we enjoy in our family. I love it all.

Sometimes in our politically correct times, we almost have to dampen or lessen the word Christmas or include all other holy traditions in the same breath. I now give thanks and offer prayers for all who celebrate this time in their different faith traditions that are based on love and a holy person who leads them. And I feel deeply grateful and obviously joyful to be be sharing this celebration among this body of Faith.

Jesus is the God who has been present to me in my life. Jesus is here for me whether I know it or not. Jesus has even been here when I have looked the other way. For me, Christ is the light of the world who came into this world so that I may have life more abundantly.

And I acknowledge that I have life abundant in family love, good health, and people and places where I can shine forth this goodness upon others. I love this all.

In holy scripture, John tells us “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. This Word was the light of the world that shines in the darkness….and the darkness has never put it out!

I love that too!

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