Pastoral Thought



            I watched one Sunday as an extended family crowded around the altar taking photo after photo following a baptism. The lively little girl was the center of attention; grandparents, little cousins only slightly older, and all kinds of other people jammed together, smiling laughing, full of joy. The people who had presented her were foster parents: her father was dead, her mother in prison; custody had passed to the foster mother. But this little girl was loved, and she knew it.

            We need to rejoice when something absolutely good is given to us. Like the baptism of this child. Yes, she and her foster parents will have difficult times—at 14 years of age she may be a spitfire, and it should not surprise us. But God puts in people’s hearts the capacity for unconditional love. Certainly God offers this every time a child is born.

            Jesus’ birth into our human race was accompanied by big difficulties before (his mother’s unexplainable pregnancy, homelessness) and after (savage infanticide of King Herod). But do any of us doubt that Mary and Joseph carried a deep joy within them...the joy of a child, of God’s pledge to the human race that He believes in us?

            On Christmas I wish you, within your family, a profound awareness of how good it is that you belong to one another. As Mary and Joseph did with Jesus. You may have many gifts to give and receive. Good. Let them be reminders of the deep meaning of Christmas:  “I am grateful for your love, Mom (Dad, son, grandson…). I can never repay you, but something better is mine: I can love you and care for you all the days of my life.”  Jesus made this so by His coming. Our love for each other is part of His love.

            A merry, blessed, loving Christmas to you.

Father John Hynes