Blessed Christmas!

12-20-2020From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

I want to thank everyone who sent in donations for this year’s Giving Tree. Like everything else this year, the Giving Tree was done quite differently than usual. I mean, how different can you get than having a Giving Tree without an actual tree?

But, as usual, the generosity of the people of this parish was clear by the many checks and cash gifts that came in. These were used to purchase gift cards for the children and families whose information is usually found on the tags of the tree!

Such generosity is always a wonderful testimony to our faith in Jesus Christ. It is even a reflection of the generosity God showed in giving us His Son, Jesus Christ, on that very first Christmas. Jesus is clearly the best Christmas present any of us ever received, or ever will receive. Our gifts to each other, and to the poor, are a reflection of God’s generosity to us.

I know this is going to be a very different Christmas for most, probably all of us. Limiting family gatherings and having to call ahead to reserve space at Christmas Mass is not what any of us would choose. Let us pray that things improve soon!

Perhaps our own inconveniences this Christmas can help us appreciate what Joseph and Mary went through on the first Christmas. I don’t think they would have chosen to journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem while expecting a child, but they were forced to do so. I’m sure they wouldn’t have chosen to have their baby born in a stable among animals, but had to do that because there was no room in the inn. And I’m very sure they didn’t want to get up and flee with their newborn baby to Egypt, which they had to do to escape King Herod!

Indeed, the Holy Family’s first Christmas was full of difficulties. I’m sure they would have preferred that things went a lot more smoothly. But Mary and Joseph did what they had to do to observe the law and keep Baby Jesus safe that first Christmas. May our sacrifices this Christmas remind us of all they did out of love for God and us!

I believe that, after Mass, I will be going to my sister Christine’s house for a small gathering. It certainly will not be the usual big family affair. But I’m sure we’ll have a good time and a good meal just the same. Most of all, we’ll celebrate our Savior’s birth, which is what Christmas is all about.

Please say a Hail Mary for me on Christmas – and every day. May our prayers for each other be a Christmas gift by which our good God sends many graces to each of us.

Have a blessed Christmas!

Fr. John