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Christmas is Coming

I wrote the following for this weekend’s bulletin as we begin Advent.

Christmas is Coming!

Notice, the title says Christmas is coming.  The Christmas shopping season began Friday but Christmas day is still almost a month away.  We see Christmas decorations going up everywhere.  Truly, Christmas, as the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, is a time to celebrate.

And we will celebrate Christmas not just a day but a season.  But that season does not begin until we start our Christmas Masses at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve.  The birth of Jesus is a gift

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life (John 3:16).

Imagine it!  The son of God became human for us.  I literally cannot find the words as I write to express how awesome this is!  Jesus was with God but he loved us so much that he was willing to come among us as one of us.  Of course, we celebrate Christmas with joy!

And recognizing the importance of Christmas we do not celebrate Christmas as a single day but as a season.  However, as Catholics, our Christmas season does not end with Christmas Day.  It begins with Christmas Day!  From there the Christmas season continues with feasts of many saints.  On the Sunday after Christmas, we celebrate Holy Family Sunday, emphasizes the importance of family by the example of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as the holy family.  On December 27th, we celebrate the feast of John the beloved disciple who spent so much time with Jesus.  December 28th is the Feast of the Holy Innocents remembering the innocent infants who were killed by Herod because he sought to kill Jesus (Matthew 2:16-18).  On January 2nd, we will celebrate Epiphany, when the three kings came to the infant Jesus bearing gifts because they recognized his greatness (Matthew 2:1-12).  Then, our Christmas season will draw to a close on January 9th with our celebration of the Baptism of the Lord.

Ok, so Christmas season begins on Christmas day.  What are we to do until Christmas?  Well, we have a whole season to celebrate before Christmas.  It’s called Advent.  The word advent means coming or arrival.  Christmas is the coming of Jesus Christ into the world.  Our season of Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ into the world.

There are actually three comings of Christ.  The first is the coming of Jesus as an infant, that is Christmas Day.  The Second Coming will happen at the end of time as we know it.  Our gospel reading today points to the Second Coming (are you ready?).  Next Sunday, the readings will speak of the first coming of Jesus. 

In fact, the first coming of Jesus Christ has already happened for us.  He performed many miracles and taught us how to live so that we might be ready for the Second Coming.  I mentioned a third coming.  Christ seeks to come into our lives now.  Advent is a special time of preparation for us to focus on readying ourselves for the coming of Jesus.  How much time will you spend shopping for Christmas, baking Christmas cookies, and preparing food for the Christmas meal?  How about spending some time getting ready for Jesus’ arrival in your heart?

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

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