My Dear Friends,
Merry Christmas! We welcome those who are visiting our beautiful church this Christmas weekend. We pray that you will find here the warmth, the peace, and the presence of the Christ Child born in Bethlehem over two thousand years ago.
In the days leading up to this Feast of our Redemption, our Carmelite Sisters celebrated the beautiful Mexican tradition of “Las Posadas” wherein they reenact Mary and Joseph looking for a place to dwell in Bethlehem because there was no room for them in the inn. One of the antiphons that our Sisters repeated often was: “Come Divine Child and dwell in me, for I desire to live only for thee…”
Well, that Divine Child is here! Do we have a place for him to dwell? Do we truly desire to live only for Him? This is the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God. He comes in the silence, in the darkness, born in poverty and obscurity precisely to teach us how to truly be human and how being truly human like Him leads us to share in his divinity. Once the angel announced his arrival, Mary and Joseph dedicated their entire lives to living only for Jesus. So many who have encountered this living Christ have dedicated their entire lives to living solely for Him. I propose a very simple question to ponder in your heart this Christmas: “how does the birth of the Messiah affect my spiritual life?”
Sadly, Christmastime is fleeting. Sure the Church will be celebrating Christmas over the next two weeks, but for the world, the lights and the trees will soon come down, the Christmas carols on the radio will disappear, and we are left with this sense of longing for Christmas to last just a little bit longer. This is why we must keep repeating that antiphon from the Carmelite Sisters: “Come Divine Child and dwell in me, for I desire to live only for thee…”
Christ comes to liberate us from the evils of this world. He comes to reunite us with our Father in heaven. He comes to make something new in each and every one of our hearts. But, as I’ve said many times, Christ will not force his way into our hearts. We need to prepare a proper dwelling place for Him. This is what advent was all about: preparing! Many of us no doubt invited family and friends over for Christmas dinners or parties over the last few weeks, and we stressed over the smallest of details. Imagine if we did the same to welcome Christ this Christmas. God came into the world to radically transform it, but he needs our hands and our feet to build up his kingdom which will last forever. We need to open hearts to our Savior this Christmas.
I invite you during this season of Christmas to spend time before the Nativity Scene. There we see the mystery and the depth of God’s love for us. So many people stop their cars in front of our church to get down and look upon the Christ Child lying in the manger, to look upon his Mother, to look upon the humble carpenter who would raise Him, and to take in the enormity of this event that transformed history. Ask the Divine Child to make your heart like His: innocent, tender, and totally open to our Father’s will. Once we follow the example of Mary and Joseph and dedicate our entire lives to Christ, our life will finally be filled with the peace and joy that comes each Christmas. And we will feel that peace and joy year-round. May we go forth from this Church like the angels that first Christmas, and proclaim the good news of great joy to all:
“For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.” (Luke 2:11)
I pray that you and your family have a blessed Christmas, and that the peace, love, and joy of that humble manger in Bethlehem may be felt in your homes and in your hearts.