As I travel within our parish, I have already begun to see the image that captures this time of year perfectly, it’s the sight of a Christmas tree dumped by the curb, some with limp strands of tinsel still clinging to a few needles.
These days as you go along, you see people pulling down wreaths from the front door, throwing away poinsettias, and unplugging lights in the hope that in some miraculous way they will work next year when we take them from the attic. There’s no mistaking it. Christmas is coming to a close.
Isn’t it also tempting to wrap up our sentiments with the decorations – to put away the good feelings of the season along with the “elf on a shelf” or the holiday ornaments? And Jesus . . . will He be wrapped in tissue paper in a box in the basement?
The story of Christmas that we have recalled as a family of faith renews our vision that sometimes, Jesus isn’t where we expect or plan for Him to be. It reminds us that He came into a world that had no room for Him, that didn’t plan for Him, or welcome Him, and that he lived his first days among strangers.
As I tried to express during Mass last weekend, I again thank you for remembering that while this may be a time to put away the ornaments and the lights, it is also a time for holding on to the sense of charity, and generosity, and wonder, and joy that are all the hallmarks of the Christmas season. Thank you for discovering Jesus in those who have and who will come to us in need.
Be assured of my prayers for you and those you love that the promise, hope and joy of the Christmas season be with you throughout this year ahead that God has given us.