Dear brothers and sisters,
We come to the conclusion of our Advent series about hope. We have defined Christian hope as a character trait based in the reality of Jesus Christ, flowing from our recognition that we haven’t yet reached perfect satisfaction and completion in life. Hope is a gift of God’s grace and is not something we can earn. Nevertheless, we can cultivate hope through confidence in our thinking, desire to seek and find God’s will for us, and action in progressing toward our deepest desires. We have defined hope as the “sweet spot” between despair which tempts us to think that we will never get there, and presumption which says that our present state in life is all there is. We’ve said that we are not alone in our Christian journey; we fight together for hope as the Body of Christ. Last week, we talked about patience as an important characteristic of hope, and to fight for patience by fighting our temptations to complain.
Today, we are looking at God’s fulfillment of his promises. The Old Testament through ancient prophecy predicts the reality, fulfilled in Christmas, that God is with us. Christmas builds hope and brings hope because it proves that God keeps his promises and is true to his Word. Christmas is not just an event that occurred 2000 years ago, but it’s about our story right now, and everything that is going on in our lives. The Savior who came to Mary and Joseph comes to us too, in the same personal and unexpected way that he came to them. He comes to save us from whatever it is we need saving from: sin, addiction, disease, loneliness, loss; your marriage, your career. Christmas builds hope and brings hope because it brings Emmanuel, “God with us,” to us: “God with us” in all of our messiness. Of course, like Mary and Joseph, we have to act like we believe it; we have to act like we have hope.
All are invited to our Christmas Masses: December 24 at 4 pm, and December 25 at Midnight and 10 am. If you are a regular parishioner and are attending the 4 pm Mass, please consider parking in the back rows of our parking lot in order to leave the closer spots for newcomers and visitors. I would be very grateful if you did so. Also, if you have never served as an usher or greeter, and are attending the Midnight or 10 am Mass, we could use your help. Please talk to myself or a staff person for more information.
A Blessed and Merry Christmas to All,