Merry Christmas!

Now, I don't mean to interrupt you in your preparations! I know there's probably still some wrapping, cooking, baking, and cleaning to do, but I invite you to spend a few moments reflecting. (I'll keep it short, I promise.)

So your Christmas plans are in place. It's full of traditions. For the most part, you know what Mass you'll go to, what food you'll eat, and who you'll see. There's much familiarity.

But do we realize what's new this Christmas? Do we realize that Jesus is surprising us this Christmas? God is full of surprises and we forget that! If we look at today's Gospel account of St. John the Baptist being born and named by his mother (unheard of during that time - also shocking) and then the name confirmed by Zechariah who had been mute for nine months until this point, we see the shock of the townspeople: "What, then, will this child be?" (Luke 1:57-66)

If we allow Jesus to be born more fully in our hearts this Christmas, we will also be surprised. Jesus comes with gifts! He has a specific gift for you. If we receive this gift, and open it (often we take it and don't open it!) and then put it to use (we forget to do that too!), then the townspeople will also say the same of us, "What, then, will this child be?" We are children of God and His plan is still unfolding in our lives! You have an important role in the world that no one else ever had or will be able to fulfill. You are called to greatness, to sainthood and to Heaven! And this Christmas, Jesus will be born in your heart to show you the way. 

May we praise and thank God for the gift of His Son! 

I pray that while in the midst of your Christmas traditions, the newborn King in your heart surprises you with His newness and His peace.