I mentioned in the Advent and Christmas letter that Christmas is the combination of elision of the phrase coming from the British tradition of calling December 25 “Christ's Mass.” It is obvious to see that in the word “Christmas.” Because of that, it should be reiterated, as is often the case during this time of year, that you can't celebrate Christmas without Christ Jesus. He should be the focus of our festivities and of our celebration; He should be the center of our lives.
Just as you can't celebrate Christmas without Christ, so it should be stated that you can't celebrate Christmas without Mass. Please invite your family members, relatives, and friends to join us for Christmas at one of the following Masses:
December 24: 4pm @ Resurrection & St. Mary of the Snows; 7pm @ St. Mary of the Snows
December 25: Midnight @ Resurrection; 8am @ Resurrection; 10am @ St. Mary of the Snows.
I hope to see you at Mass on Christmas!
I think most of you know that we will see visitors from out of town and perhaps visitors that maybe come to Mass a handful of times throughout the year. Maybe our first inclination is to make snarky comments about “C & E” (Christmas & Easter) Catholics; maybe it's easy to complain because someone is sitting in “my seat/pew (one of the advantages of being a priest is having a reserved seat).;” one may complain about having to show up super early in order to get a seat; one may think, “Where have you been all along?” None of these gripes or complaints entice visitors to come back. Such inhospitable attitudes serve only to drive and keep people away from returning regularly or even at all.
What can be done to foster a more welcoming environment for Christmas? First of all, smile! It's Christmas! Secondly, be sure to greet and welcome visitors; introduce yourself to someone you may not recognize; tell them how happy you are to celebrate Christmas with them. Another idea may be to move to the middle of the pews, middle of the rows. I know most people want to sit on the end of the pew—hopefully not for a quick getaway—but maybe leave the ends of the pews available for those with children who may need to leave for a time to go to the bathroom or cry room. Invite visitors back for next week's Mass.
This is an opportunity for each one of us to evangelize. Each one of us can reveal the face of Christ by the way we welcome visitors and strangers. Let's not waste this precious opportunity to make Christ known to others this Christmas. Come, Lord Jesus!