/ / From the pastor’s desk—Dec. 19, 2021

From the pastor’s desk—Dec. 19, 2021

Fr. Ray Smith, CMF
Parochial administrator

Dear Sacred Heart Family,

By this time in Advent, we have all heard someone refer to what is the “real” meaning of Christmas. Commercials try to fill our heads with reclaiming the “magic” of Christmas. Toy drives try to tell us Christmas is all about the children. Wall street and businesses judge their worth by how much we buy. Our radio stations, even Christian ones, are unaware that the song “The 12 Days of Christmas” begins after Christmas not before. How can we avoid all the traps of following the wrong star this time of year? Mary, as usual is the answer.

Mary, in her simple act of visiting her cousin Elizabeth, reminds us to strike a balance between the time we make time for others and the time we make time for the quiet preparation of our Lord. Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth reflects what many of us do this time of year and that is caring for someone in need. Elizabeth in her advanced age certainly need Mary’s help and then responds to Mary’s visit with what is the heart of one of our most beloved prayers, The Hail Mary. Elizabeth helps us to refocus that Mary is not the true reason for her joy, but that the Lord has visited her and for that reason her own child, John the Baptist, leapt in her womb.

The other way Mary helps us to prepare correctly for the coming of the Christ-child comes to us not so much in what is said in Scripture, but by what is not said. The absence of details about Mary’s pregnancy itself points to the fact Mary quietly prepared for our Savior’s coming. This quiet preparation is perhaps the best antidote to the stress-filled, jam-packed schedules most of us lead this time of year. Can I make an effort to focus on what is most important, making room for the Christ-child in my life? Can I carve out some quiet time to look at what I am willing to do, or what we can do as a family, to prepare to let a new light into my life. What darkness do I still need to leave behind? Can I give the same time to God as I am giving to shopping?

On one level the gift shopping and gift giving, the lights and decorations, as well as the parties lighten our spirits this time of year, but Jesus, I think, if He came to visit us today would wonder how any of these things makes room for Him to come into our life with one exception, what am I willing to give Jesus this Christmas? And if I answer, I will give myself, what does that mean? Will I give more time in prayer, more service to those in need, or more treasures to the Church as the 3 Kings gave their treasure? It is in giving that we receive, and by giving to Jesus we will receive the true meaning of Christmas.

With a heart for Mission,
Fr. Ray