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Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas Eve Mass

The simple story of Christ’s birth touches our lives to evoke our deepest emotions, emotions we do not even understand, but it is something so profound and its truth settles deep inside us in a place we call home. This moment touches the part of us that naturally loves and wants to be meaningfully loved, and God does it year after year through the Nativity. On this night, in a stable in Bethlehem, God enters into our human family as a newborn baby, and love changes everything. Tonight is about the possibility of what this love can do.

How do you need God’s love to touch your heart this year? To restore hope, to heal hurts and disappointments, to reconcile with a loved one, to reconcile idealism with reality? Christmas allows us to make space for mystery and wonder. Allow yourself to be transfigured by this love that changes everything. Even for a moment, live in this love that draws us in, leads us on, lures us into harmony and goodwill. Feed yourself with the sights and sounds, fragrances and taste, the sensuality of touch.

We need to grow this love by nurturing our relationships with kindness and compassion and by speaking words that affirm and encourage. You have a choice, and you can always use words that build bridges and form deeper bonds. I invite you to say to someone with whom you are not enjoying your best moments presently: “I’m glad you are here. I’m glad I am with you. I want your happiness, and I want the best for you.” You don’t have to solve the relationship; you simply need to let the person know that she or he is still important to you. It might be very difficult to have the courage to utter, but once you do it, you will experience the positive effects of saying it, even if the person might not respond as fully and freely as you want. Take the risk. Go beyond what you think is possible. You will be speaking the truth, and those words might be someone’s best Christmas gift.

Our relationships depend on the capacity of each of us to understand our own difficulties and aspirations, and those of others. When you understand yourself, which includes knowing how you suffer, you can profit from every moment you have to live. You can enjoy every moment. When you are truly happy, we all profit from your happiness. We need happy people in the world.

The Christ child was born to reconcile us to God, to draw us closer, to strengthen our bonds to God. Let’s approach the crib of our dreams and inspirations, the place where we know everything will be alright, the place that we return to every year, the place we know is our home and where we are always welcome. This is a crib of the mystery of love, and it needs to be nurtured and fed. Let the crib nourish our hearts in silence, and let’s nourish the hearts of those around us who need to come this this crib. Our hearts bring the crib to them. The power of this love is deep and endless and full of mystery. Let’s see what love can do for our world this year.

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