Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells …

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

Each of us carries our own memories of the holiday season and how these days were celebrated in our past. Oftentimes, these memories include thoughts of family, special moments, and traditions shared with loved ones in special places.

When the hectic pace of the days allows us a moment to be quiet and reflect, do you notice how your mind drifts back to those times? Now and then, we want to share the memories – something like, “Ya know, when I was a child, at Christmas time I remember that …” often comes out.

Some of us might call this season “magical” and in many ways it is. Rare is the person who is not somehow touched by the scene of families and children walking to midnight Mass through the streets on a snowy Christmas Eve. Somehow, it seems that anything is possible on that night. All of the fantasies, dreams, and stories about that night do not seem so strange and far away.

Hearing the narrative of the young couple expecting a child, searching for lodging for the night in the village of Bethlehem comes alive – even though we have heard it so many times before. The thought that angels visited shepherds in the fields that night causes us to look to the heavens and wonder.

All of this is no accident. Each year this is the season to wonder and hope. The forces of our secular society would like to make this time one of superb commercial success and strip it of religious meaning. And the challenges each and every family faces make it difficult to get focused and centered on the true meaning of these days. But all of that does not mean it is impossible to reclaim what this time of year is all about.

This weekend we are at the end of our wait. Our time of preparing is almost over and we have only two days left until the celebration. This is the time to get in touch with every longing and dream of your heart. This is the time to recognize restlessness and yearnings and to see that these are, in fact, gifts from God to point us toward His Son.
The “stuff” that touches our heart in this season is not an accident! It is a gift to turn our heads, to invite us to clear a path for the Christ in the messy, full, and over-busy lives we lead.

The promise is real and God is waiting, again, this year to make good on it. Your choice today can lead to this being the best Christmas of your life.

Fr. Ronan