Fr. Daniel Gifford
MOTHER OF CHRIST
Dear St. Louis Parishioners,
As we come at last to the Fourth Sunday of Advent, we reflect upon the nearness of Christ even more profoundly. In just a matter of days, we will celebrate the day when our Blessed Mother gave birth to the Christ, the Savior of the World, the Word of God Incarnate. In these final days, we reflect upon Him waiting within her womb, waiting to come out and greet the world that He came to save. We reflect upon the waiting of Mary and Joseph to behold Him in their arms and with their eyes, as they have beheld Him with their hearts in that long season of waiting. Already, she has begun to own the identity celebrated in the title from the Litany of Loreto we reflect upon this weekend: Mother of Christ (Luke 1:30-33). Ordinarily hanging in the Chapel, to the right of the tabernacle on the North wall, is an image that symbolizes this uniquely: Our Lady of the Unborn Word (front cover). Ironically, it is currently temporarily replaced by one of our Annunciation images (also very appropriate for Advent and Christmas Season), but this is so that the glass can be cleaned and the back sealed to prevent future mold build-up. So, when it returns, it will be more beautiful than we have seen it in quite some time! May we embrace the chance, in these final days, to learn from Mary and Joseph what it means to wait for Christ!
AT LONG LAST…
Merry Christmas! How worth the wait Christmas is! The Christmas Season is truly one of my favorite times of the year. I thank God the Church gives us the gift of Advent to prepare our hearts well to celebrate well throughout the whole Christmas Season. And this is, of course, also your annual reminder that the Christmas Season starts on Christmas Day, December 25. We celebrate with greatest fervor for the entire Octave of Christmas, which continues until January 1st (Mary, Mother of God). But, it doesn’t stop there. We remain in what is sometimes referred to as “the twelve days of Christmas” as we prepare for the Epiphany (January 6th). And that’s still not the end, as the Christmas Season doesn’t actually conclude until the Baptism of the Lord (January 13), when we will have a special celebration… more to come to about that. Truly, there is so much at stake, in keeping Christ the Center of Christmas, and also so much opportunity to evangelize in these days of the actual Christmas Season, when people don’t expect to hear “Merry Christmas.” I shamelessly plead with you all: if you have put up any lights or decorations, if you have listened to Christmas Music, if you greet people with “Merry Christmas” in the checkout line, please, please, please keep doing these things, at least through Epiphany! Maybe even request a Christmas song on the radio. Let’s ready our hearts for a whole season of celebration of the mystery of God coming to dwell among us, as one of us, and bring us home to Himself.
WELCOME AND HOSPITALITY: As we begin the Christmas Season, we know this is a time of year when we are blessed with the presence of many visitors, guests, old friends, and extended members of the Saint Louis Parish family. For anyone who falls into that category, welcome, thanks for being with us and know of our prayers for you and your family, that you may be filled with the joy of the Gift of Christ this Christmas Season. To all of our parishioners, please join me in welcoming any guests you may encounter.
In Christ through Mary,
St. Louis, pray for us!
Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!