December 24, 2015
Christmas and the holiday season are wrought with expectations, so I'll leave us a simple challenge for the next few days: be present, in mind, body (don't know how you'd avoid this one), and spirit.
Take care to not yearn too much for Christmases past; this is not where God has led you today. As Fr. Solanus said so clearly at a recent Frassati retreat, "Nostalgia makes idols."
Nor should we put so much of our treasure in the future that we lose a reverence for today, for this Advent and Christmas season. Because this is a season of family, resolutions, celebrations and memories, it is easy to fantasize about how Christmas will be perfect once we "settle down" or are more stable.
So my challenge remains this: Be present and attentive to your family and to God over the next few days. The past years have led you to this exact Christmas, so be grateful for that. The future has bright things in store for us all who believe. Yet while it's not wrong to fondly remember, nor is it imprudent to have an expectant faith for the years to come, too often these thoughts can cloud our ability to value the present.
Your ability to act, your will, and therefore your capacity to love are limited to this very moment. St. John Paul II and Blessed Mother Teresa were both famous for their ability to make the person to whom they were talking feel like there was nobody else in the world, no concern more important than their conversation with these saints.
I pray that we give this gift of attention and presence to our loved ones, even more so to our enemies, and dwell on the goodness of God in this very moment, loving others to glorify His love for us.
Then you can give them Furby, Tickle-me-Elmo, Elsa, new socks, ugly sweaters, a Red Ryder BB gun, Zuzu's petals, an Italian leg lamp, or whatever their hearts desire.
Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals (...redeemed by grace, of course).
Praised be Jesus Christ