Each year I write a letter to my parishioners during Advent to wish them a merry Christmas, which I enclose in a Christmas card. Below is the text of this year's letter:
Dear brothers and sisters,
I don’t know if you have noticed it yet or not, but our society’s celebration of Christmas is becoming more and more removed from the Birth of Christ Jesus of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Even finding Christmas cards that depict and mention the Birth of the only Savior of mankind is becoming increasingly difficult. Instead, so-called Christmas cards and decorations are mostly nothing more than a celebration of winter.
We can either let such a state of affairs depress us, or we can use them to stir up within us a desire to truly celebrate the historical event that first brought about the great feast of Christmas: our Lord’s Birth in Bethlehem.
Society’s desire to forget the Christ Child is really an attempt to put ourselves before God, a temptation always to be avoided and resisted. Our heavenly patron, Saint Augustine of Hippo, offers us a few profound words in this regard:
We are striving for great things; let us lay hold of little things, and we shall be great. Do you wish to lay hold of the loftiness of God? First catch hold of God’s lowliness. Deign to be lowly, to be humble, because God has deigned to be lowly and humble on the same account, yours, not his own. So catch hold of Christ’s humility, learn to be humble, don’t be proud (Sermon 117.17).
As we approach the Christmas festivities, let us not lose sight of their purpose, namely to rejoice with exceeding gladness in the love of God who deigned to become a tiny child for our sakes. Seeing his humble love, let us strive for the greatest thing of all: to become saints and enjoy forever the beauteous splendor of his Face.As we rejoice in the Savior’s Birth, please be assured of my prayers for you and your families and friends as I wish you all a Christ-centered, joyous, blessed, and merry Christmas!