“To celebrate the [Christmas] season we have to prepare for the season,” Father Jerry Byrd (first Sunday of Advent homily on Nov. 27, 2022)
Please find Father Jerry Byrd’s Christmas Letter to you about how to prepare for this “most wonderful time of the year,” by focusing on the essential elements of the Christmas season.
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
It’s the most [wonderful] time of the year.
Because God became man for you to lead you to Heaven!
I talk a lot about our relationship with God, with Christ and His Church, and with the Virgin Mary. At Advent and Christmas time we have the opportunity for deep holiness. We have the opportunity to deepen this relationship at the most wonderful time of the year.
Yet we sometimes want to replace the word [wonderful] with too hectic, too busy, and too draining. Christians, I tell you that this is not the season of “overwhelm.”
It is the season of awe that takes us to Peace.
Yes, the world wants to take us away from that Peace waiting in the manger for us. The world shouts shopping, lists, and chaos. We must not forget that we are in the Presence of Holy God even on the most stressful of days. If we are planning all this for our families –which is a good and beautiful thing – we need to remember that God is the reason we are doing it.
St. Augustine’s sermon on a long ago Christmas Day proclaimed that “Truth sprang forth from the earth,” because the “Word became flesh and righteousness looked down from heaven, because every best gift and every complete gift is from above.”
What is this truth springing from the earth? It is the flesh of Mary who gave us the God-man. We are not able to receive anything unless it is a gift to us from heaven, St. Augustine said.
This is the season of Peace that allows us to be people of good will — heralding something more than all the fanfare that goes with Christmas. What greater grace is there than knowing that we are made to see only Peace in this Advent and Christmas Season?
Let’s look to Him, the One who offers us peace as a tiny child from the crib. Peace came and Peace has a name: Jesus.
Praying for you and with you always,
Fr. Jerry Byrd