My favorite Christmas song is O Come All Ye Faithful. Even though it is my favorite, I only know one verse of it because that is all I learned as a child. For those of you who don’t know me, I can’t sing. When we sing at Mass, I try to make sure I turn the wireless mic off to make sure people don’t hear my singing off-key. Since, I can’t sing it’s hard for me to learn music.
There are at least three reasons I like O Come All Ye Faithful. First, simply it is one of the traditional Christmas songs that I learned as a child. Second, I like it because, despite my lack of musical ability, it is a song I can sing. Lastly, the third reason I like the song is because I think the words “O Come All Ye Faithful” speaks of how Jesus came into the world at the first Christmas to invite all to be part of God’s kingdom. All are invited and welcome.
Christmas draws something out in people. At Christmas, the churches I have been in have their attendance increase 50% to 100% with visitors. Some of the visitors are people who live elsewhere and come home for Christmas to be with their family. Other “visitors” are people who only come at Christmas and Easter. I’ve heard comments from people who come to church every Sunday say that at Christmas they have to come an hour early just to get their regular seat.
So what? I think it is wonderful to see all these people in church. Some people will say, “Where are they the rest of the year?” I wonder where they are too. But I see no benefit in judging them for this. I give thanks that at least for Christmas they have heard Jesus calling “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The best thing we can do for these people is to make them feel welcome and let them God has something to offer them. If they feel that they are not wanted, then why should they ever come back.
If we want them to come back (which we do), then we need to use these rare opportunities when these people do come to do our best to help be aware of God’s love and compassion. What better time of year to share God’s love at Christmas for the true meaning of Christmas is all about God’s love for us?
So, when you see a strange face at Christmas, welcome them with God’s love.