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Pastor's Column

The Time Machine of Christmas

Pastor’s Column

Christmas 2023


“Let us go then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place,

which the Lord has made known to us.”

Luke 2:15 ~

 


File:NativityChristmasLights.jpg:derivative work: Crumpled Fire, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Christmas Day and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass are intimately connected: both are really a kind of time machine. The past, present and future are all gathered around us in a way that is unique whenever Christmas, or Mass, are celebrated. The name itself evokes the connection: Christ-Mass. In addition, we are biblically surrounded at these times by an unseen world of angels, and of both the living and the dead which is also very real.


The great emphasis of Christmas is on family: relatives and close friends, both those on earth (present or unable to be with us), and those whose memories are brought to mind by the joys we have shared with others who are no longer on earth with us, but who now, having died, know the truth of the world that we see now only by faith. Even more importantly, we are invited into Christ’s family as well, sons and daughters of God!


The Mass is a time machine inasmuch as it brings to us the very same sacrifice of Calvary: not a re-sacrifice of Christ, not a new sacrifice, but the same sacrifice brought to us in the timelessness of the liturgical action Christ commanded us to do in his memory at the last supper. He did this so that believers of all times to come would also have the chance to be with him at the last supper, to share in his Body and Blood and to be sacramentally and truly with him in his death and resurrection.


For those of us who have lost loved ones, Christmas always evokes strong memories, but also intense hope. The tree many of us put up points like an arrow to the world of the future, where every day is Christmas Day, and Christ dwells with us visibly and speaks to us as one friend to another, and we will never be separated again.


Those of us who have worked in the travel industry, as I have, are keenly aware of how great is the desire many have to go home for Christmas. We go to great lengths, expense and inconvenience to make these journeys if separated by distance, and the reason is that our relationships, and especially our membership in the family of Jesus is what Christmas Day is all about. The nativity scenes we place in Church and in our homes remind us that we really do also belong in that picture. Though seemingly impossibly separated by time and space from this event, yet this is our living history too.  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are our family too, for Jesus said very clearly that anyone who does the will of God is my brother, my sister, and my mother (Mark 3:35).


Father Gary ~

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