Dear Families of St. Mary, St. Joseph, and St. Jane Frances:
In the last two thousand years around the world, the birth of Jesus has been celebrated. In some places this is done in great extravagance, yet even today, it is celebrated by many in dire poverty, famine, war, and struggle. I think this year we all get a chance to experience not the Christmas we want but the Christmas that God has allowed. Yesterday I saw a beautiful statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and it made me wonder what was her first Christmas really like. She and Joseph were young and scared, having to travel on foot distances we would never consider. I can only imagine they were gossiped about by the people in her small town with her pregnancy coming early. Even though sinless, she must’ve questioned if she had the strength to bring the Messiah into the world. I’m sure when she dreamed about being a mother for the first time, she couldn't have imagined she would give birth in a cave with animals far from family and friends.
If we believe that the coming of Christ is for all time and for all people, it is certainly for our time. Jesus’s birth isn’t about political power or miracles. Jesus Christ doesn’t come to make everything easy or perfect. The coming of Christ is about freeing us from the bondage of sin. And I think in these difficult times, we certainly have seen within ourselves and society our need for forgiveness of sin. Maybe these last months have shown you your limitations and need for a savior. This is why Jesus comes to set us free from our fears, from the power of death, from the chains of sin.
Wherever you are this Advent and Christmas season, try to take a few moments to see what God might be trying to show you through this different year. I pray the Lord may speak to your heart in these difficult times of his love for you. What are the lessons he wants to teach you and your family? I wonder if things were “normal” this Christmas, might we have made it just about presents, toys, decorations, and parties rather than the suffering and struggle the Holy Family went through?
I also want to take this time to thank the staff and volunteers who have given so much to make these three parishes work. I also want to thank each and every one of you for sharing the light of Christ by your loving support! “Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father." Matthew 5:16
A very merry and blessed Christmas to you all!
Fr. Tim Forgét