Christmas 2013

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Christmas 2013

Last week I sat with a young man who told me a piece of his childhood story.

The remnant of his childhood is adult loneliness.

He holds on to pieces of regret and not-so-subtle shame.

He struggles to survive Christmas carrying his past in his heart.

He never felt the love he needed to thrive.

He asked me for advice to get through the season and to calm his anger.

I told him that my job as a priest is to remain vulnerable at Christmas.

That spiritual task is for all humanity.

I reminded him that Advent opens our hearts for something new to be born.

We must create a place in real human terms for love to find a home.

Not a love that is arrogant and short lasting, not flimsy or false.

Genuine Christmas love heals the past and satisfies the soul.

Christmas reminds us of Emmanuel, God-with-us.

Joy comes from self-emptying.

Freedom comes from releasing our grasp on the past.

Hope arrives when we turn our gaze from shame, when our fists open.

Love is born in words of gratitude.

Peace eases into our adulthood when our hearts are vulnerable at Christmas time.

Merry Christmas

2 thoughts on “Christmas 2013

  1. One of my biggest problems is trying to understand what the clergy ( Protestant or Catholic) are trying to say andthe above is an example.

    You have not said what this man’s problem was only that he is lonely at Christmas. You did not mention (specifically) that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus only the word Advent and a simplistic sentence” Peace eases into our adulthood when our hearts are vulnerable at Christmas time.”

    Instead of the sentence “I reminded him that Advent opens our hearts for something new to be born.” I would remind him that at this time of year (Christmas) one must focus on the birth of Jesus and God and Bible verses 1 John 4:8 and John 3:16 . God gave us something very precious and we need to thank Him everyday and especially this time of year.

    Further, Jesus did not reach out to concepts, to institutions, to doctrine, or ideas or rules or notions about the Church. He reached out to people who were lost, forgotten, sinful or hurting. Knowing that and God’s love is how are hearts become vulnerable. That is what Christmas is about.

    • Merry Christmas! Thanks, as always, Ron, for your preaching which engages the mind and heart. Your sermons are like a poem or song, in which each phrase can be a separate little meditation. Not all of them will “hit home”, but the one that does it for me is, “Love is born in words of gratitude”. This is my prayer for that lonely young man, and all those who struggle with emotional pain during the holidays. God bless you Fr. Ron! -Dan

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