Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,
The concluding hours of Advent are rushing on us. There are those you forgot to send a Christmas card to; there are the men among us finally getting the last of the family gifts purchased let alone wrapped; there are the pies being baked, the ham and turkey prepared for Christmas Eve and Day dinner - and those moments when you just say STOP! You stop to reflect, to pray, to remember why are we doing all of this?
We let our family lives be filled with joy and anticipation because we are going to celebrate the birth of Jesus among us. It is a realization of how awesome it is to have Jesus – God - human and divine - born among us.
Why did that happen and why are we celebrating this birth? Through the course of history, from our 1st parents at creation, sin has entered our world. Since then, all of us human beings have added to the sin that separated us from our God. It was God’s desire that we would be with Him forever. But death entered our world because of sin. Choosing to spend eternity away from God was possible because we were created free. As human beings, it was impossible for us to bridge the gap between our world and the eternal life God wanted for us all.
Jesus came into this world to be that bridge between God and human kind. Jesus came as a human being, yet also God, so that through his life, death and resurrection, we could become the adopted children of God, so that our sins could be forgiven, so that we could go through human death to eternal life with the God who loves each one of us.
All of that begins as we have seen in the Advent readings with Mary’s “Yes” at the Annunciation, with Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth, with the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem where Jesus is born in a poverty manger where animals eat. Jesus touches completely the human experience, unusual circumstances of his conception, being poor, cold and helpless as an infant, welcomed into the world by the least of that day, the shepherds who heard angels glorifying God. The smiles of Mary and Joseph at the wonder of what God would do through the babe in their arms.
May we all take moments to reflect, to pray and to open our hearts to the warmth and mystery of what God is doing within our hearts today and tomorrow. May we know Jesus is with us. May we know our human experience of life moves to joy, to peace and to all that God has in mind for us during these special days of Christmas.
I want to thank all who have helped with our preparations during Advent and in the celebration of Christmas Eve and Day Masses. May you know the joy of Christ born in your hearts. I thank St. Luke’s parish staff, Jenifer and Cindy, for all they do to enable St. Luke’s parish to grow in faith and in parish life. May the newborn Lord touch you and your families.
To all the members of St. Luke’s parish, your family and those who come with you to our Christmas celebrations, may the Lord Jesus be close to you and may you know God’s love for each one as we move to Christmas.
Fr. Larry Hoffmann