The Nativity of the Lord

12-25-2023Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Robert A. Poitras

Merry Christmas!

If you are joining us today for the first time, or if you are returning to church for the first time in a while, or you join us every weekend - welcome home. While you are here I hope you experience the joy and peace you’re searching for this Christmas. On behalf of the entire pastoral and support staff of St. Mary’s Church I wish all of you and your families a Merry and Blessed Christmas.

The Gospel for Christmas Morning recalls the Shepherds visit to the new born Jesus in the manger. The Gospel tells us that the shepherds came and saw the child and then ran off to tell everyone the story. The Gospel also tells us that, “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” This passage always reminds me of my mom on Christmas morning. While everyone else, including me, was rushing about eating and opening presents, I still have this image of my mother sitting back, sipping her coffee and taking it all in, enjoying and loving her family.

As always, our Blessed Mother Mary is an inspiration for all of us. She reminds us that the important parts of these holidays are not to be found in the rushing around to open gifts and the preparing of decorations, food and drinks for guests, but the important part is the gift of family and loved ones around us. We can get so caught up in the commercial aspects of this holiday that we forget the most important part, the gift of each other. As Mary rested in the stable and watched person after person come in and adore her new born child, she reflected on each individual interaction. She welcomed the opportunity to watch as one person after the next met her son, their savior, and God in person.

This Christmas let’s do ourselves a favor and give everything an appropriate priority. The gifts, decorations, food and drinks play a big role in our gatherings, but they are not the important part. So why waste so much energy on them? Instead let’s spend more time and energy making sure our family and friends know how much we care for and love them. Maybe there is a relationship in our family that is strained or broken. What a blessing it would be this Christmas to be Christ to that person and extend an opportunity for forgiveness and bring healing to a broken relationship. There is nothing that creates more joy than forgiving and being forgiven. So often we talk about how our culture is in danger of losing the true meaning behind Christmas. We say,” they are removing Christ from Christmas.” If it is truly important to us to keep the real meaning of Christmas, than it must start with us, in our own homes. As in the aforementioned Mary example, let’s make family and friends the priority this Christmas. By sharing the forgiveness God has first given to us, we can truly live up to our mission of keeping Christ in Christmas. May you and your families have a joyful and blessed Christmas.

A very Merry and Blessed Christmas,

Fr. Bob