I’ve been visiting all of our shut-ins and folks in nursing homes recently, in order to wish them a Merry and happy Christmas. I always love looking at the pictures on people’s walls. Often there are dozens and dozens of pictures of family members and loved ones. You should always send pictures of you and your family to loved ones who are homebound, or in nursing homes. Often it is looking at faces of children and grandchildren that gets people through. Some also tell me they pray over those pictures.
About four days ago I visited a husband and wife who have been members of our parish for ages. They live in Ashford Place. Like so many, they had pictures everywhere of family members. At the top of it all was a picture of the two of them. Above that was a frame that said, “All because two people fell in love.” In other words, none of the 100 or so people below would ever even exist were it not for the love that brought together this couple.
Brothers and sisters: today we celebrate that Jesus came to earth, that God has been born among us. All that has followed–everyone who has been baptized, every family that exists, everyone who has been brought together in matrimony, all whose sins have been absolved in holy confession, every person who has received the Body of Our Lord at Holy Mass, every soul that has been born on earth and every soul that has entered heaven–it is all because God fell in love.
God is not out to get us! He’s out to love us! Mary and Joseph, the Shepherds and the wise men–all were told, “Do not be afraid!” The same is said to us! God comes to us, is born among us, because he fell in love. No one is afraid of a baby! Everyone wants to hold the baby, kiss the baby. For that, when God entered the world, he did so as a beautiful baby boy.
So that all might love him, too. And fall in love. Among the many Christmas cards I got–and I am so very thankful for them all–there was one that really got me. It said, “Dear Fr. Mike, Merry Christmas. We appreciate what you are doing. Thank you for caring.”
Today Jesus invites us all to care a little more–about our faith, about our families, about living a good and upright life. So I had this experience in prayer. I was sitting there with Mary who was holding, and she asked: Do you want to hold him?
We are all asked that today my friends. Do you want to hold him?
Friends: Hold onto Jesus, hold on to him with all your life, all your heart, all your soul. Do it. Never let him go. Look him in the eyes, behold him, love him, kiss him. Cherish him. Do that, and only then will you be able to let go of everything else–all your angers, resentments, failures, mistakes, addicitons. Just fall in love with Jesus and hold onto him.
So much has happened because Jesus fell in love with us. What might happen, my dear friends, if we fell in love with him, too??????
Everyone of you–please, for the love of God, think of one way that you will hold on to Jesus in a better, more passionate way this coming year.
May God bless you and your families with a Merry Christmas.