Wednesday, December 12, 2018 at 5:57 PM
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12/25/15 Nativity of the Lord - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti
The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) - Mass During the Day

•    On Christmas day we naturally reflect upon the Christ child born in a manger... And this is appropriate... 
•    This prologue to the Gospel of John, attempts to help us see our God, our faith, and our lives from a much broader perspective...
•    The One Eternal God... the Creator of the universe… entered into time to become a part of His creation... to become part of each of our lives… 
•    Have we ever stopped to consider the impact that this one event has had on the world...
•    I’m not speaking of Jesus’ historical impact… I’m speaking of His ongoing Spiritual impact… through the gift of our faith…
•    Our faith is given to us not to stifle or limit our lives... But to enrich them with meaning and significance...
•    If we see our faith merely as a series of rules to be followed and obligations to be met... Then we're selling our faith short... And we're doing a disservice to the Gospel of Christ...
•    The incarnation of the Son of God is not about laying down rules and making threats... It's about learning to live life to the full... It's about learning to accept and share the love that’s been freely given to us... It's about looking beyond ourselves... To help us see the bigger picture...
•    Today is certainly a day to spend with family and friends, to try enjoy some semblance of peace and joy in our little corner of the world...
•    But it's also a day for new beginnings... For new hope... And for new life...
•    It’s an opportunity to take a deep breath and consider starting off the New Year… not with resolutions that we’ll soon abandon… but with a deep faith… 
•    A faith and a belief that this loving and benevolent God desperately desires to guide us to a life of purpose...
•    Despite the darkness that sometimes engulfs our world and our lives… Grace prevails because of the light of Jesus Christ…
•    Jesus comes to each of us daily… In the good times and the bad…
•    Yet we all too often miss Him, when we try to convince ourselves and others that we’re got it all together…
•    God’s Presence… God’s Grace… God’s Truth… are found in every selfless act of kindness and every natural wonder that we experience in this world…
•    The question we need to ask ourselves is: Do we take the time and make the effort to notice and appreciate them for what they are?

•    No human being is ever without God…
•    If we find it difficult to feel God’s presence in our lives… It’s not for God’s lack of trying…
•    God can only touch our hearts if we’re willing to stop and invite Him to be a part of our lives…
•    Jesus came to offer us a new way of living... A new way of seeing the world... And a new way of seeing our lives...
•    Jesus didn’t walk among us to give us new laws to follow… He came that we might understand the one universal law of God… The law of  LOVE…
o    Unconditional… unmerited… LOVE…
•    Can we stop just for today… to let this sink into our consciousness?
•    Can we believe, just for today … that the Creator of the universe knows our name, and loves us deeply… and unconditionally… simply because of who we are, and Whose we are?
•    Can we let go of the distorted images of God we may have, just for today…?
•    Can we allow the love of this magnificent Creator to penetrate our souls and our minds just for today?

•    Jesus is the answer to the age old question “Is this all there is...”
•    Are we willing to believe this and accept this... Just for today?
•    God has a purpose in everything… And God created each of us for a purpose as well…
•    A unique purpose that only we can fulfill… And it’s our life’s calling… to discover that purpose…
•    Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “The purpose of life is not to be happy.  It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson - 1803-1882).
•    Jesus taught us everything we need to know… to live a meaningful life of purpose…
•    Isn’t that worth celebrating this Christmas Day… and every day?

•    I’ll close with a quote from a book by Henry van Dyke, titled: The Spirit of Christmas... In which he wrote: “Hatred, and envy, and contempt, are the curse of life.  And for these there is no remedy save love – the will to give and to bless – the will of the King Himself, Who gives to all and is loving unto every man.  But how shall the hearts of men be won to this will?  How shall it enter into them and possess them?  Even the gods that men fashion for themselves are cruel and proud and false and unjust.  How shall the miracle be wrought in human nature to reveal the meaning of humanity?  How shall men be made like God?”... And then the answer came... “Man shall be made like God, because the Son of God shall become a man.”  (Pgs. 25-26 & 28).

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