Today we revisit the biblical account of the ANNUNCIATION and we encounter the figure of Mary, the maiden of Nazareth again. Why is Mary important in our approach to Christmas? Is it just because of her role as natural mother of the Son of God? Yes, the crib is not complete without her there. Christmas cards are all the warmer and sweeter when she is seen caressing her baby boy. But Mary is not a mere spectator, not a decoration and not an addendum to the Christmas story. There is a quality in Mary that poses a challenge to our life of faith. There is something in her life that makes us rethink the way we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Mary teaches us how to make room for Jesus. Before the angel came, Mary had her whole life neatly planned before her. She was in a peaceful and religious Jewish home. She was engaged to be married to Joseph. Nothing seemed to upset the normal routine of a simple country girl. But then the angel came, and Mary, who was at first troubled by the message she received, gradually stretched her heart to accommodate God’s plan. That was not easy to do. God’s plan was not an alteration to her schedule, her itinerary, and her activities. The plan centered on a child, a person. That would mean a lot adjustments. But she made a space for Christ. In fact, she offered Him the center of her heart.

Christmas as we celebrate it tonight, takes our attention to many varied focuses. People are confused about what gifts to give. There are so many parties to attend. Churches are busy planning programs for children and the poor. All these concerns eat up a space in our minds and hearts. And because of this, many people really forget the real meaning of Christmas. A good and holy bishop gave a relevant reminder that we should not merely wait for Santa to come, but we MUST truly wait for Jesus to enter into our lives this Christmas. Some people object to this reminder, but it is very true!

How many of us take this moment to celebrate the Eucharist with greater fervor? Are our celebrations filled with gratitude for the birth of our Savior? We need to encounter the Blessed Virgin of Nazareth to truly appreciate the demands of Christmas on our faith. We must make space for Christ, who is the center not only of religion, but also of the beating and pulsing hearts of his followers. HOLY MARY, TEACH US HOW TO MAKE ROOM FOR JESUS AGAIN!

#22. A JOKE FROM ST. JOE: A woman was mailing an old Family Bible as a Christmas gift to her brother in another state. “Is there anything breakable in this package?” asked the postal clerk. “Only the TEN COMMANDMENTS,” the woman replied and greeted the clerk, “Merry Christmas!”

This Sunday is the Vigil for Christmas and we have our Christmas Pageant for our RE children at 3:30PM followed by our Christmas Eve Mass. At 8:00PM we do our Christmas Midnight Mass. In the morning of Monday, Christmas Day we celebrate our regular Sunday Schedule Masses at 8:30 AM and 10:30AM for this day is a Holiday of Obligation. The feast days of St. Stephen is on the 26th, the 27th is for St. John the Apostle, the 28th is the Holy Innocents Day and the Octave days of Christmas will continue. This is all for the year 2017, watch for the next bulletin. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW TO ALL.

Your Priest-Servant and Parochial Administrator,

Fr. Reggie