December 20 – Fourth Sunday of Advent
During the Advent/Christmas season, the company that publishes our Sunday bulletin has earlier than usual deadlines for getting each weeks bulletin to them for printing. As such, I am writing today’s December 20 article on December 8 – one full week ahead of the normal deadline. I am writing too as I am recovering from my unexpected surgery on December 3 to remove gallstones and my gallbladder. A little concerning during the middle of a pandemic!
And so, on this 4th Sunday of Advent, we are 5 days away from the celebration of Christmas! And what a different celebration it will be for all of us this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was brought home for me today as I received an e-mail from friends in Wheaton where I have spent Christmas the last 19 years informing me they decided not to hold the annual dinner gathering with me and three other families that have traditionally come to their home on Christmas. What a bummer! I’ve sure many of you are experiencing the same thing in various ways. For some, it doesn’t even feel like Christmas. But you know what? I’m OK with it, and even look forward to this Christmas alone (with the dog)! Please, no pity parties! I know that many of you would invite me to your house for dinner, and I appreciate that. But this Christmas IS GOING TO BE DIFFERENT – maybe even a great one! Why? The answer lies in a YouTube video I ran across the day before I wrote this article. So, if you are feeling down about Christmas this year, I wish you would watch this 8 minute 30 second video.
Go to YouTube and search “This Could Actually be a Great Christmas” by Fr. Casey Cole OFM. This young priest gives an insightful reflection that lifted me from this Christmas possibly being a depressing one to one that could be great!
So, I’ll be just fine! After all the Christmas Masses, and still recovering from surgery, I know that I will be exhausted and I look forward to settling down for a long winter nap in the recliner next to the gas log fireplace with Chardonnay (the dog) in my lap and perhaps in a glass too. And my friends from Wheaton are bringing me dinner too! Life and Christmas, despite the pandemic, are grand!
Fr. James, our Deacons and wives, and all our parish staff wish you a most blessed Christmas. In the midst of the challenges of our times, the truth still isn’t changed – God is with us!