A Blessed Christmas!

“Where will you have your Christmas?”

A common question this time of the year.

What’s it mean?  Usually, the person asking is wondering where you’ll have Christmas dinner, or where you’ll be when the presents under the tree are opened.

But, for us as believers, the essence of Christmas is not the festive meal — as eagerly as I await that joyful experience! — or even where we’ll gather with family and friends to exchange presents.  (I’m all for that, too!)

No.  For us as Catholics, the heart of Christmas is the Mass!  Even the name of the holiday — Christ-Mass — implies the centrality of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on this radiant feast of the Nativity of the Lord.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Hebrew word for “house of bread.”

Thus, on His birthday, we approach the Eucharist to receive this “bread of life” in Holy Communion.

Jesus was born in a manger, a feedbox, where creatures ate, because He desired to be food for our souls.  He nourishes us at Mass.

In the baby Jesus, the divine was hidden within the tender, innocent, humble human nature of an infant.

So in the Holy Eucharist, the divine is hidden under the simple, routine, natural elements of bread and wine.

That first Christmas, God the Son, the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, the Eternal Word, assumed flesh and blood.

At every Mass, Jesus Christ — body, blood, soul, and divinity — comes into our midst on the altar, into our souls.

In a way, every single celebration of the Eucharist is Christmas again, as Jesus comes to us in His Holy Word and in the Blessed Sacrament.

The tree, lights, carols, cards, gifts, family, friends, visits, wreaths, cookies, dinner — all cherished Christmas traditions.

But, the greatest custom of the all:  Mass on the feast of Christmas!

So . . . where will you have your Christmas?

See you at Mass!

A blessed Christmas!

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10 Responses to “A Blessed Christmas!”

  1. AndyP/Doria2 says:

    A few days ago, my son’s fiance’, knowing that I study and teach Catholicism asked me a question. To wit:

    When one goes to Confession and omits a few sins, are they still forgiven?

    My response was yes, if you honestly forgot them, they are forgiven and it would be right and just to tell the next Priest at your next Confession the sins you forgot to Confess.

    She responded by stating that a friend of theirs told them that is not true. That even if they fail to confess some sins out of embarrassment and purposely omit these embarrassing sins, they too are forgiven.

    I told her that is heresy and asked from whom did she hear these things.

    Her response was that she heard from a friend and that he is a teacher at our own Fordham Prep, right here in NY. She said he is a math teacher.

    I responded, that was no excuse. He has plenty of people at Fordham he could have asked this question to and come up with a truly Catholic answer.

    My thoughts were, who knows how many young minds this so called teacher has corrupted. How many students come by this so called teacher and hear heresy right here in one of our own so called Catholic schools.

    I’ve said in the past Your Excellency and continue to say, we are in a Catechetical wasteland here in NY.

    My daughter attended Iona College right here in New Rochelle about 10 years ago. She showed me a midterm exam wher God Himself was referred to as he/she and him/her.

    Your excellent words in the article above ring hollow as long as this type of so called “Catholic education” and poison is forced fed to our young.

    I continually pray for this Archdiocese.

  2. Mary Louise Helwig-Rodriguez says:

    What a beautiful reflection, Bishop Dolan! I did not know that Bethlehem means “house of bread,” but made all the other connections as soon as I read that. Thank you for bringing Christmas some extra meaning for me this year. :) Have a blessed and Merry Christmas, and thank for all you do.

  3. samuel P. Lundy says:

    Amen from the Anglo-Catholic corner! Deacon Sam

  4. Thank you so much for publishing the real meaning of Christ Mass letter. I have made a copy for each of my family members to place in their Christmas card. I’m also going to give a copy to my grandchildren & my precious great-granddaughter who is 4 yrs old going on 20! I asked her what Christmas meant to her and she told me that she gets lots of gifts from Santa. I explained to her that isn’t about getting lots of gifts, it’s Jesus’s birthday. She replied, “It is”! I explained to her that we need to celebrate his birthday and the best gift we can give our Lord is to be good, mine our parents and go to mass especially on Jesus’s birthday, December 25th. Remember that every year. She replied, I love Jesus, Nana because he protects me & my baby sister, daddy & mama. Yes, he does my princess. Again, thank you. Have a Blessed Christ Mass.

  5. Donna W. Vidrine says:

    MERRY CHRISTMAS from Louisiana Msgr. Dolan!

  6. Thomas C. Reeves says:

    How glorious to have an orthodox and saintly Archbishop of New York. Give thanks this Christmas.

  7. A very happy and holy Christmas to you, Your Excellency, from my parish of St. Helen’s in Barry, which is part of the Archdiocese of Cardiff in the UK. We will pray for you and your archdiocese.

  8. Nancy Mroz says:

    Merry Blessed Christmas to you, Archbishop Dolan.
    Thank you for the beautiful words that are so true.
    I will share them with my friends and family.
    You are so very much missed in the Milwaukee Archdiocese and especially by me!
    I feel so blessed to have met you a number of times and received many blessings from you. May God keep you healthy so you can to continue His work. Love from New Berlin, WI

  9. Carmen says:

    Archbishop Dolan, thank you very much for this beautiful letter explainnig the meaning of the word Christmas! It is very interesting indeed!
    From Spain we wish that Our Lord fills you with His Joy in this Christmas and the New Year 2012!
    Carmen and family

  10. My family and I want to wish you Merry Christmas from us to you. Every week we all get together and read your blogs after Mass. Its always a fun time to reconnect with the family and discuss the topic of the day. So thanks for all the good times you’ve given us through your work and words. And a very merry Christmas from the Kopple family.