Holiday lights are a treat. Ever since I discovered the amazing decorations over on Gemini Street, here in Camarillo, I’ve visited them yearly to enjoy all the extra special effort the people there go to making the season bright. As much as I enjoy the cartoon characters, it’s the lighting that I really love.
The light that is shed by people whose day to day kindness springs from their love of Jesus is even more nurturing and important, pointing to Jesus in quiet ways. Shall we be a light? I find a special joy in Christmas parties. I have one every year at the parish house, alternating between deacons and the parish staff, along with their spouses. It’s a high point for me, sharing my home with people who work so hard and give so much. I also delight in gatherings at the homes of friends and family. What is better than good food with friends?
The ministry of Jesus was all about gathering people, healing their wounds, forgiving them and feeding them in their hunger. Shall we be a healing, forgiving and nourishing community? I don’t think any season of the year can compete with Christmas for great music. It’s a passion for me. I have 578 carols in my two Christmas playlists! Nothing gets me into the holiday mood more than the sound of carols. And don’t get me started on how much I enjoy our Christmas concert! It really lifts my spirits.
James 5:13, encourages us, “Is anyone in good spirits? Let them sing praise.” The very memory of the birth of Jesus might be enough to put us in good spirits. Shall we not just hear the carols in the background, like the soundtrack of our lives, but actually sing praise with grateful hearts?
There are so many beautiful Christmas cards – specially chosen greetings to communicate how we feel about the season and the people who receive them. I find such encouragement in reading and embracing the kindness and affection I sense in the cards.
John’s Gospel begins with a hymn, referring to Jesus as the Word, present to the Father from the beginning who came to us, His own. This Word proclaims good news to a weary, frightened and, perhaps, jaded world. Shall we make a point of bearing good news, hopeful and caring words to one another?
I have a nine-foot-tall Costco special Christmas tree with lots of lights. I also have long pine garlands on
my banister and the fireplace mantle, with pinecones and red berries for accents. Evergreens show up all over the place!
Jesus was born for us, that we might have life – everlasting life – and have it to the full. Shall we not, like the hope bearing trees that remain green in winter’s depths, encourage others to lives lived fully, kindly and happily?
I hope you are able to find more than a small amount of joy – even if times are difficult. Even more, I encourage you to be a blessing for others this Christmas. May the Christ Child find a warm place to be at rest in your hearts this Yuletide!
Fr. Patrick Mullen