FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT--12/23/12
Several years ago, I printed a Christmas poem by the famous early 20th Century author, G. K. Chesterton. I've always loved it because it sums up so clearly the wonder and mystery, as well as the humble simplicity of Christmas. I give it to you again this year:
There is heard a hymn when the panes are dim,
And never before or again,
When the nights are strong with a darkness long,
And the dark is alive with rain.
Never we know but in sleet and in snow,
the place where the great fires are,
That the midst of the earth is a raging mirth
And the heart of the earth a star.
And at night we win to the ancient inn
Where the Child in the frost is furled,
We follow the feet where all souls meet
At the inn at the end of the world.
The gods lie dead where the leaves lie red,
For the flame of the sun is flown,
The gods lie cold where the leaves lie gold,
And a Child comes forth alone.
Did you know that in early Christianity, much was made of the fact that when Christ was born, the old pagan gods either died, or vanished, or lost their importance? The coming of Christ was seen as a new creation, a new breath of life; and the manger was seen as the home for all people who deeply desired peace and joy. When we look at our world today, it seems like the old pagan gods have reared their decadent heads again. The greed, the lust, the violence, the hate, the self-indulgence that was wrapped up in those old gods are alive and well today. That has only happened because we have forgotten the truth in the poem above. And what is that truth: CHRIST HAS COME AND HAS DEFEATED SIN, DARKNESS, AND DEATH!
We long for an end to violence; we shall find peace in Bethlehem. We long for an end to sorrow; we shall find joy in the manger. We long for an end to hate; we shall find love wrapped in swaddling clothes. A home where the fires of love burn, a home where the laughter of joy is heard, a home where the embrace of peace is felt--that is the home we shall find in the lowly stable where the Child sleeps next to his Mother Mary.
Come home to where the Child lives and say farewell to the dark ideas of our day and age that seek to bring the deep night of paganism. For Christ the Light of the World is born anew in our hearts this Christmas, and if we invite Him to stay in our lives, we shall be saved from our sins, delivered from our sorrow, and lifted out of darkness. Rejoice all families and friends of St. Mary/St. Patrick Parish, for unto us is born today our Savior Jesus Christ who has come to bring us home!