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Around the Parish – December 24, 2023

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As we gather on this fourth Sunday of Advent, a peculiar blend of anticipation fills the air. While it may strike some as unconventional to continue our preparations for Christmas when, according to the calendar, the day itself is imminent, the essence of true Christmas preparation knows no temporal boundaries. Beyond the festive gatherings, the resonating carols that have accompanied us since the ghostly days of October, lies a deeper, enduring call to readiness.

In the spirit of reflection, let us draw wisdom from the whimsical words of the Grinch, who, in his frosty solitude, discovered a profound truth: “Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small, was singing! Without any presents at all! He HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same!”

This seemingly childlike verse prompts us to ponder the core of Christmas. The Grinch, with his heart two sizes too small, unraveled a timeless message—Christmas transcends material trappings. “What if Christmas,” he mused, “doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

As our preparations for the festive season reach their culmination, let us acknowledge that our preparations for Eternal Life never cease. Christmas is a poignant reminder that God, in His infinite love, prepared a path for us to attain eternal salvation. The King of the Universe, cloaked in the humility of a newborn, ventured into our world, vulnerable and innocent, to eventually sacrifice Himself for our redemption.

Our earthly preparations for the advent of the King may conclude with Christmas celebrations, but our quest for eternal life persists until our final breath. The message of Christmas resounds clear: continue to prepare your hearts for the King. In moments of jubilation or sorrow, our ongoing preparations for eternal life define the true essence of this season.

As we traverse these final moments of Advent, may joy and peace envelop us. Let the echoes of the Grinch’s revelation guide us, reminding us that the profound meaning of Christmas extends beyond packages, boxes, or bags. It beckons us to prepare our hearts for a celebration that transcends time—a celebration of eternal life ushered in by the birth of our Savior.           

Pax et Bonum, Fr. Andy