December 22, 2019

THE NATIVITY OF THE LORD
CHRISTMAS
DECEMBER 25, 2019

Lengthy Christmas letters recapping the past year’s events are often sent at this time. Last week a parishioner received such a letter from a friend filled with bad news, a broken leg, unemployment, assorted illnesses and even two dead goldfish. Thinking that she was offering a compassionate response the recipient texted, “Got your letter – LOL.” She was shocked when she received this reply, “There was nothing funny about 2019 for me or my family!” Telephoning her daughter to diagnose the situation she learned that although she texted LOL, meaning in her mind Lots Of Love, LOL, in text language, means Laugh Out Loud!

Our desire to share and communicate is deeply rooted in our human hearts. It is one of the qualities that we share because we are made in the image and likeness of God. Our hearts, like God’s, are made to communicate love. This is the central theme and symbol of the mystery of the Incarnation which we celebrate this Christmas. We reflect on God’s own love dwelling among us long ago and continuing to dwell within us even to this day. We celebrate God’s presence – our Emmanuel – which means God is with us. The forever gift of God in Christ is more than God’s communication; it is God’s communion with us.

At Christmas we celebrate by communicating through cards and gifts which are symbols of our love. Gifted by God we gift each other and become love in action. We communicate in many ways at Christmas time through cards, letters, gifts, texts, social media, emails. Current research predicts that the most popular form of communication this Christmas will be through emoji’s. Emoji’s as we know are the images that are the emotional language of the digital world. In the Fall we used emoji’s as part of our theme, as prayer tools to inspire us to Turn Our Face With Grace to Love. Our prayer helped us to turn away from fear, entitlement, attachment and control toward faith, acceptance, cooperation and empathy.

This Christmas you will receive a gift from your priests and parish staff which is a Christmas Ornament of a Praying Emoji Elf. This Christmas Ornament has been wrapped in prayer for you and may serve as an inspiration for your prayer. When you receive your Praying Elf Christmas Ornament notice the prayer on the reverse side which reads, Lord Turn My Face With Grace To Love. Take your ornament home and place it on your Christmas tree or in a special place. Pray the prayer on the back. Ask the Lord to gift you with greater faith, acceptance, cooperation and empathy so that your face and actions may reflect God’s unconditional love and acceptance. Know that you and your gift have been wrapped in our prayer. May we all turn our face in prayer with grace to love. Even though we may not -LOL- Laugh Out Loud we may offer through our prayer- LOL- Lots Of Love.

Time to be Good News – Pray

Unwrap the gift of God in Prayer. In the midst of Advent and Christmas busyness, we offer you a way to pray and to discover our God who is with us. Each season the preparation for gift giving can be a source of stress. This year can be different. Our Christmas practice of gift giving is intended to be a visible symbol of love and Christian service in action. Why not use our gift giving as a form of prayer? Wrapping your gift in prayer can add a spiritual dimension to an ordinary task.

Wrap Your Gift in Prayer

As you choose your gift, ask for God’s guidance and bring a prayerful awareness to the exchange. When you actually wrap your gift, whether in wrapping paper or in a gift bag, pray for the recipient. Ask God to fill them with light, love and the peace of Christmas. Cards and electronic greetings may also be wrapped in prayer.

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