We are celebrating St. Mary's Feast on 08th November 2019
† Rosary :- 8.00 AM
† Holy Eucharist :- 08.30 AM
† Satsang and Healing Prayer 11.00 AM to 02.00 PM
† Adoration : 06.00 AM
† Holy Eucharist : 06.20AM
This is the time of year when everyone starts getting ready for Christmas. The houses are cleaned from top to bottom to get everything in tiptop shape. They are decorated with lights and trimmings and yards become the showcases of Christmas splendour. Lists are created of certain wants or specific needs and the shopping begins. Multiple trips are made to various stores and shopping centers. Of course it wouldn’t be Christmas without four or five trips to the mall. The shopping is done so that we can give and receive gifts on Christmas day.
All of this is a great illustration of how God wants us to prepare for Christmas. When we truly prepare for Christmas, there is a personal cleansing. When we truly prepare for Christmas, there is a new arrangement of our priorities. When we truly prepare for Christmas, there is a decorating of the heart. When we truly prepare for Christmas, there is a receiving and giving of gifts.
The cleaning of the heart: “Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8). The word “blessed” literally means happy in the original Greek. From this statement of Jesus we see that the pure in heart are the happy in heart. Why? Simply because they will one day see God. Now this sounds really simple, doesn’t it, because all that we need is a pure heart.
How can we become pure in heart? What do we have to do? There is nothing we can do to make our heart pure! God is the one who cleans the heart and all that we need to do is ask Him. David asked God for this exact thing: “Create in me a pure heart and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10) God granted David’s request and gave him a clean heart. He can do the same for us; all we need to do is ask Him.
The arranging of priorities:An essential part of preparing for Christmas involves re-arranging. Just as we arranged our homes, schedules and other aspects of our lives for Christmas. God wants us to arrange our hearts for Christmas. His desire is for us to make more room for His Son in the room of our hearts. When we make this extra room in the heart, God blesses us with more of Christ. It is then that the blessings of God begin to rapidly flow into our lives and overflow into the lives of others. When we put Christ in the centre of our lives, everything else comes together.“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). When Jesus made this statement of seeking the kingdom of God first, he was giving the antidote for worry. Jesus makes it clear that if we are to succeed in life; our focus must be on God first. We become so busy celebrating the season that we totally miss the reason for the season! We become centered on shopping for the right gifts and forget to tell others of God’s perfect gift. We are not prepared for Christmas until our priorities are in line.
The decorating of the heart: What does God do to decorate a heart? “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). God decorates a heart by gutting the old and creating something new. When decorates a heart He must have complete control over the whole life. Far too often, we only give God partial control and we only allow Him to make the changes that we approve. God’s desire is to take our life and make it even more beautiful. God wants to add value to our life.God wants only the very best for our life and He wants to be the influence of our life. However, He waits for us to give Him permission to begin the work. God desires to decorate our life with his blessing and give us something completely new.
The receiving and giving of gifts: “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”(John 1:12).John speaks of those who received Christ. The Greek meaning of the word “receive” means “to welcome” or “to accept.” John is making it clear that we are to welcome Christ into our lives. This receiving is not just for part or some of our life but rather it is for every area of our life.Christ must also be believed. To believe in the name of Jesus means to put faith in Him as a person and in what he represents. The simple act is life changing and transforming because we become children of God.God has given us an incredible gift. By faith, in Christ, we can become children of God. When we accept Christ we are ushered into God’s family. John says that through Christ we are given the right to become children of God. Literally we are given permission to join God’s family. By faith in Christ, we become a part of eternity. Our citizenship is changed and we gain an interest in heaven. Our position in life is changed. We gain a dwelling place in heaven and divine grace from God the Father.
One of the greatest joys of Christmas is found in giving. It is indeed better to give than to receive. I don’t always enjoy the shopping or the wrapping of gifts but I love to give the gifts. The same may be true for you. You love to watch others tear through the wrapping. You love to watch their face light up. You love to hear the words “It’s just what I wanted!”
It might surprise us but this applies to Christ as well. There is great joy when we give a gift to Christ. What does Christ want from us? “My child, give me your heart and let your eyes keep to my ways” (Proverbs 23:26). The greatest gift we can give to Christ is ourselves.
So, where are we with our preparations for Christmas? Are there some areas of our heart that need to be cleaned? Maybe we need to rearrange some things to make more room for Christ in our life? Perhaps our heart is fairly barren and needs some of God’s blessings for decorations. Have we received the gift of Christ and have we given Him our heart.
This year the wonder of Christmas can come alive for us in brand new ways if we will open our heart and allow God to prepare us for Christmas.My prayer is that the peace and joy of Christmas may be yours at this holy season and throughout the New Year.
† Ignatius D’ Souza
Bishop of Bareilly