Merry Christmas………..

During this Christmas season, which lasts until January 9, these are exciting times, time to celebrate, and also time step back, reflect on the past year, give thanks, look ahead, etc. We have just experienced the Nativity of the Lord, feast of St. Stephen, Deacon and first martyr; feast of St. John, apostle and evangelist; feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs; and, in the coming days and weeks we will celebrate feasts of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, solemnity of Mary Holy Mother of God before wrapping up the Christmas season with the Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord. It is almost as if the Church has been sandbagging feasts, solemnities, and holy days during the season of Advent and now bringing them all out and catching up. During Advent we prepared our hearts and minds for the celebration of the birth of Christ – maybe you used some of the resources available from Dynamic Catholic, Bishop Barron, Liturgical Publications or others. I did, and it helped me make this the best Advent ever and best Christmas ever. That’s right, after 59 years, they just seem to keep getting better. Celebrating the holidays with friends and family, being with my 93 year old father, our children now living back in the area, new family members that married into our family this past year, and the holiday celebrations and gatherings continue. As my wife Dawn so perfectly put it, it is not the gifts around the Christmas tree that matters, it is who is around the table at dinner on Christmas that matters. Makes me teary eyed every time I think of that. I am so grateful and thankful for the blessings that have been bestowed on us this year. And I enjoyed scrolling through all the posts and pictures on Facebook of the happy families, celebrations, beautiful pictures of trees, decorations, churches etc. And while I celebrate and bask in the joy and happiness of the season I know that many of my friends and families may not necessarily share that same joy and may be dealing with issues they had not foreseen for this joyous Christmas season. Especially the Pfeil, Warden, Reitz, Kelley, Stockel, Straub, Miskell, Stirnaman, and Bubash families. You have been in my prayers daily. As well as those who are dealing with other family issues or experiencing this Christmas season for the first time without loved ones that they have lost this past year. May our good and gracious God wrap his loving arms around you, your families, and your caregivers and bring you strength and comfort on your journeys. Christmas blessings to all of you.