I wish each of you a merry Christmas in the truest sense of the word merry.

Turning to the dictionary, we learn that the word merry is defined as “showing high spirits or lightheartedness; cheerful, joyous, uninhibited enjoyment.

I like — showing high spirits — uninhibited enjoyment.  In wishing … or praying … for someone to have a merry Christmas, we are wishing them a season of uninhibited enjoyment.

Let’s turn to the Carol, “Angels We Have Heard on High” to find a reason for this uninhibited enjoyment:

1.  Angels we have heard on high, Sweetly singing o’er the plains.  And the mountains in reply Echo back their joyous strains.

Gloria in excelsis Deo.  Gloria in excelsis Deo.

2.  Shepherds, why this jubilee?  Why your joyous strains prolong?  Say what may the tidings be, Which inspire your heavn’ly song.

Gloria in excelsis Deo.  Gloria in excelsis Deo.

3. Come to Bethlehem and see Him whose birth the angels sing;  Come, adore on bended knee Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

Gloria in excelsis Deo.  Gloria in excelsis Deo.

4.  See him in a manger laid Whom the angels praise above;  Mary, Joseph, lend your aid, While we raise our hearts in love.

Let us go to Bethlehem and see.  Come, adore on bended knee.  While we raise our hearts in love.

The brith of Jesus changed the world . . . . and yet the world remained the same.  The brith of Jesus has impacted the history of the world like no other singular event …. for over 2,000 years those who have allowed Jesus to rule their hearts and minds, there is power, joy, and a higher spirit. 

But, AT THE SAME TIME … so much has not changed.  There was war in the time of Jesus.  There was famine and there were people who died in poverty.  The world at the time of Jesus had the dreaded disease of leprosy …. we have cancer and AIDS.  Jesus lived in a world when people were denied what we believe to be God given rights …. and it still happens today. 

So much has changed, so much is exactly the same.

For those on bended knee, those who peered into the eyes of the newborn child, saw something different and they became different … and raised their hearts in love.  THE FELT SOMETHING DIFFERENT …and they shared what they felt with others.

I invite you to feel the difference … at least for a few days … and to be different for a few days.

We have all seen the tv images of families being re-united as service men and women have returned home Iraq and Afghanistan.  Can you imagine that joy?  Can you feel the joy that knows no bounds?

We do not ignore the grief of those who have lost loved ones … and we mourn with them.  And we know trust that Jesus came into this world and our lives to change earthly death into eternal life.

Have you seen the stories about strangers going into stores to pay-off the layaways of shoppers?  Can you sense how those folks feel when they realize their bill has been paid by someone they don’t know?  (A friend of mine actually told me this week how she felt going to WalMart and seeing a grandmother and mother wonder how they might be able to pay for a few toys before Christmas ….my friend did not know these people at all … she simply went over and paid for the toys …..the strangers hugged her and caused her to FEEL the joy of Christmas!!)   WELL,  Jesus has paid the debt, cancelled the “mortgage” for my sins with a life that began on this day.

A person brought joy and love on the first Christmas …. a person embodied the love of God. People continue to bring the joy and love on Christmas and every day after.  People embody the love of God so that others can see the power and goodness of God.

As I wish you a merry Christmas I am wishing you and praying for you to have people in your life who make you feel light-hearted.  I want you to feel high in spirit because of the people you see and the people with whom you relate.  I want you to be cheerful because of the people who stand with you in good times and tough times …. those who pull you through the yukky stuff that happens in life. 

Most of all, I want you to have a taste today of uninhibted enjoyment …. because you know deep within you that a Savior has been born unto us …. and for us …. and for YOU … who will wipe away all tears and warm all hearts.

Joy to the World, the Lord is come.

Joy to the World, the Savior reigns.



About thegospelforliving

Retired Catholic Priest - now serving the community as a paralegal and charter school consultant.
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