Jottings from Fr. J.J.

IT IS HERE ALREADY?!?- Wow, time flies fast!  Christmas is in just a few days. Are you ready?  I’m not asking if your decorating is done or if your presents are wrapped, I am asking if you, your soul and spirit, are ready?  It is not too late to have a deep experience of Christ at Christmas.  Keeping Christ in Christmas means daily revealing the character, love and spirit of Christ that dwells in you, by allowing these traits to shine through your actions. Here are simple ways to help keep Christ the central focus of your life this Christmas season.

Give God one very special gift just from you to him: Let this gift be something personal that no one else needs to know about, and let it be a sacrifice. Forgive someone you’ve needed to forgive for a long time. You may discover that you’ve given a gift back to yourself. Spend time with God daily. Set your alarm five minutes earlier or come visit our Chapel on your way home every day.  Maybe there is something God has asked you to give up. Make this your most important gift of the season.

Plan a project of good will this Christmas:  Christmas is a season, not just a day, so continue the generosity.  Do you have an elderly neighbor in need of home repairs or yard work? Find someone with a genuine need, involve your whole family and see how happy you can make someone this Christmas season.

Give a surprise gift of service to each member of your family: Jesus (and now Pope Francis) taught us to serve by washing the disciple’s feet. The idea of giving an unexpected gift of service to members of your family is to demonstrate Christ-like love and service. You might consider giving a back rub to your spouse, running an errand for your brother, or cleaning out a closet for your mom. Make it personal and meaningful and watch the blessings multiply.

Set aside a time of family devotions on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning: Before opening the gifts, take a few minutes to gather together as a family in prayer.   Read the Christmas story in Luke 1:5-56 through 2:1-20.  Are you planning to attend Christmas Mass together with your family?  Don’t forget about the Christmas concert before Midnight Mass.  If you are alone this Christmas or don’t have family living near you, invite a friend or a neighbor to join you.

Write a Christmas letter to someone in the military: Receiving a letter always feels like opening a priceless gift on Christmas morning, no matter what day it is. Many parishioners are unable to be with family for the holidays, so it can be a very lonely time for them. At your gathering on Christmas, write a special letter to a soldier, thanking them for giving their life in service. Trust me—it will mean more than you can imagine! Contact Florence in our front office for a name of a military person and their address.

Doing one or all of these things will transform your understanding of “Christ”mas!

God bless,
Fr. J.J.  

P.S. Thank you to our Knights of Columbus for the great job of serving our youth a few weeks ago when we hosted awaken.  Great Job!