"It's a Wonderful Life."

Another Christmas come and gone. Sad really, after all the anticipation, planning and blood, sweat and tears that goes into preparing for the holiday, just like that, it’s over!  It’s a shame it passes so quickly. For all the hard work and effort that goes into making Christmas special, it should last a week at least! Okay, maybe not a week, on second thought an evening and a day is good.

We spent a quiet evening at home on Christmas Eve, not because we didn’t have anywhere we could have gone, but because we chose to. Ray had been busy all day preparing for her traditional Christmas Day family feast, her “Everybody eats til it hurts” Christmas dinner! So our quiet Christmas Eve was sort of the calm before the storm. It was a very peaceful, relaxing way to prepare for the family Christmas Day assault. While Ray dozed I watched the last hour of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.” Truly a Christmas classic! What an inspirational redemption movie!

Christmas morning began with my first Christmas mass.in nearly five years. I was a little shocked at how empty the 8 o’clock mass was. When I last attended Christmas morning mass and I remember it being a ‘standing room only’ affair. But there were plenty of seats at 8am. I’m not sure where everybody was, but they weren’t in church! Father Rich said the mass and did a remarkable job. As far as I’m concerned he is the perfect example of what a Catholic priest should be, warm, humble, compassionate, empathetic, inspiring, with a remarkable sense of humor. When I listen to Father Rich speak I can almost forget all my run ins with those pompous, holier than thou, egotistic priests of old, almost.  Holy Name of Mary is extremely fortunate to have him as pastor.

And like a beloved former HNM pastor Father Peter Dennis who traditionally ended every mass with a personal challenge to us all to go out and live the scriptures, Father Rich calls upon us in the same way. His words may not be the same, but the message is clear. Live the Word. Yesterday he spoke about not only observing Christmas Day, but in the keeping Christmas each and every day of our lives.

Christmas is about peace and  good will to men, compassion, joy, hope, love and giving. God gave us the most precious Christmas gift of love we could ever receive, His only Son. We should dedicate ourselves to sharing that love with others, family, friends, those less fortunate than ourselves and yes, even total strangers. The true spirit of Christmas is a way of life, a path we should all choose to walk. Can you imagine how meaningful and fulfilling our lives could be if we could keep the true meaning of Christmas alive 365 days a year instead of just one day or a few weeks a year? It truly would be “A Wonderful Life.”

As Father Peter Dennis used to say “This challenge I leave with you today my friends, go out in the world and live “a wonderful life.”

Just a Thought,




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