Dearly Beloved in Christ:
In today’s first reading we see a movement from mourning to a promise of salvation, from despair to hope. The reading begins with the following words, “Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery; put on the splendor of glory from God forever”, and ends thus: “for God is leading Israel in joy by the light of his glory, with his mercy and justice for company”.
The prospect of celebrating Christmas very soon always comes with joy and excitement but this is not to negate the fact that even now, many are going through darkness and hardships. It could be the loss of a loved one, the anxiety over a family member who is struggling with certain issues, or maybe it is a personal struggle that we hide from others. Also, many will celebrate Christmas by themselves, far from loved ones, especially the elderly; others might have only the darkness and coldness of the streets to call home.
In the midst of our darkness and struggles, Christmas comes to remind us once again of the promise of hope that Jesus, the light of the world, brings to everyone. How providential that it was on a cold and very dark night that Jesus was born into our world! (See: Luke 2:7-14) He yearns to enter into our lives still, so as to dispel the darkness that enshrouds us, robbing us of the true joy and passion that is intended to be ours as children of God. He seeks to move us from despair to hope.
Are you willing to let Christ in, to let him fill you with hope, and let yourself experience the light that he only can give? Then prepare a way for the Lord into your hearts every day. If you haven’t been to confession in a while, go to confession and unburden your hearts of the guilt and shame that you have been carrying; seek to spend more time in prayer this Advent – you may consider taking advantage of the weekly 24-Hour Eucharistic Adoration that is starting in our parish this coming Tuesday (December 11) and ask God to help you forgive those who have hurt you. And as you receive Christ in your heart, give Christ to others! Be kind to people, especially to the homeless, the elderly, the sick and homebound, and to fellow road-users; seek to make this Advent different by asking Christ to shine through you in your words and in your actions.
Please note that there will be no 24-Hour Adoration on Christmas Day (Tuesday, December 25th – Wednesday, December 26th). See page 8 for our Parish Christmas Wish List.
We are one Holy Family Parish, united in the joy of the Holy Spirit and in charity, as missionary disciples. Have a blessed Advent!
In Christ’s love,
Fr. Jude Ekenedilichukwu Ezuma