“Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” Luke 2:10
As I write this Christmas letter my heart is filled with mixed emotions about the scripture used in the heading. At Christmas, I know from experience there are a lot of hurting people who go through deep valleys of depression because they are lonely, poor, homeless, or have suffered a great loss at this exact time of year. It is always difficult for a pastor to minister to those who have no “joy”, particularly at this time of year because of losing a family member or friend during the year.
Please, let me encourage you this Christmas to get alone with God, and read the Christmas story from His Holy Word and try to go back in your thoughts to the time when our Savior was born. Re-capture the joy that was in the hearts of all who had the faith to believe that this baby was the Messiah of Israel, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Savior of all sinners who would believe in Him and seek His forgiveness.
Without knowing Him, without knowing the Christ of Christmas, you will never know what real joy and happiness this time of the year can bring. Christmas is a day for us to remember God’s merciful love. Through Jesus, we come to know who God really is – He is Love. God’s love is extended to everyone, including the marginalized … and especially the poor and the homeless. This Christmas, let us be mindful of those who are in need of our welcome – a family member, a friend, a co-worker, a fellow parishioner. Let us make room in our hearts for forgiveness and love and reach out to those who are asking for them.
Merry Christmas! On behalf of our Priests, Sisters and Staff, I sincerely hope that the remembrance of Christ’s birth brings you much peace and hope. As we celebrate Christmas, I would like to thank you for your presence and prayers with our parish family of Mission San Luis Rey Parish.
I extend a special welcome if you are joining us for the first time, if you are visiting from any other places or faith traditions, or if you do not worship with us on a regular basis.
Despite this time of national anxiety and division, have a great Christmas with all your family and friends! God Bless You!
Fr. Oscar Mendez, OFM
Pastor, Mission San Luis Rey Parish
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