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On this last Sunday of Advent, the final purple candle is lit and the days of the Feast of Christmas draw near. For these last weeks, we have all been running about preparing…shopping, decorating, wrapping…and sometimes in the busyness of all of that, we forget what we are preparing for. Maybe this week you could take some time out and reflect on your life…your family…your job. Do you allow the light of Christ to shine there? How are you a light for others? What gift will you give God this Christmas?
For those of you who are traveling home to be with family and friends, I pray that it will be a peace-filled and joyful visit. Take the spirit of St. Dominic to the church where you will worship and know that you are missed.
For those of you who are staying in town, our Christmas Eve masses will be at 4pm, 6pm and 10pm. There will be one mass on Christmas Day at 11am. The Christmas Eve 4pm mass is always overflowing with crowds, and many times people will walk in at 3:45 and say “never again.” I know this can be frustrating, but we are blessed to be in a community noted for joyful music and a spirit-filled congregation. If you do plan to attend the 4pm mass, do so at your own risk! The other masses always have adequate seating available. Keep in mind that this is the time when many return to the church. Your welcome, your greeting, your squeezing in the pew will all say, “We are glad you are here!” and may be just the push someone needs to return to the Church.
If I do not get the chance to greet you in the midst of the crowds, please know I am grateful for your support of my ministry here and that of the whole staff. Your generous sharing of time, talents and treasures is really at the heart of our community. So many good people share so much here, and we are blessed. Keep that in mind as you gather with friends and family this week. “Emmanuel”…God is with us.
Finally, for those who have lost a loved one in the past year: know that I will offer all of my Christmas masses in their memory. The feeling of loss can be overwhelming at this time of year. Know that your loved ones share in the peace of the Christ child. I pray that you may find that peace for yourself during this holy season.