Merry Christmas

The pressure is on to deliver. No, I’m not thinking of the Post Office, or Fed-Ex or Amazon. In these waning days of Advent 2019, what I refer to is the pressure you or I just might be feeling about any personal promises we made this pre- Christmas season to God, or family and friends with an eye to making this Christmas even more
special.

Concerning God, your Advent resolution hopefully
included some extra time spent in prayer. Or maybe a long-
delayed confession. As to family, a renewed effort to “make it work” with some challenging member, a project that began at Thanksgiving dinner. Your kinder thoughts of him/her now translated into a Christmas card or a phone call, or gladly joining them around the family Christmas tree. As for friends, especially those geographically distant, you made some time together via Skype or texting if not a visit.

As we read St. Matthew’s Christmas account today, we might note some differences in it from St. Luke’s version. They are often combined in the popular versions. Chief among them is the prominent role St. Matthew gives to St. Joseph, which Luke does not. This Matthew did for the comfort of his primarily Jewish audience. Joseph is the link with the House of David, a long-held qualification of their expected Messiah.

This happenstance gives us the perfect time to focus on St. Joseph. He is almost a forgotten saint, despite the fact that he is the foster father of Christ; the Patron of the Universal Church, and a perfect model of true masculinity.

What we note also is his outstanding integrity; constant patience; and inspirational obedience. All three characteris- tics, far from a complete list, will be a working document for all of us to live our Catholic faith in a better way from December 25 into the fast approaching 2020. In vision rating that number is perfection at the eye doctor’s office.

I admit that notion puts some inherent pressure on us all. But like cardio exercise that is good for the heart, so truly living our faith every day is good for the soul. And I’d like to add that St. Joseph models skills that fit in with a modern context.

What is “time management” other than priority adherence and obedience to a command for prayer? What is “goal setting“ other than healthy obedience to a higher power?

Carefully read between the lines of St. Joseph’s story. Note that it has no memorable speech but action aplenty. When St. Joseph’s virtues become part of our own biographies, they bring us the elusive joy of peace.

I close with the thought of the late Menachem Begin, former Prime Minister of Israel: “Peace is the beauty of life. It is sunshine. It is the smile of a child, the love of a mother, the joy of a father, the togetherness of a family. It is the advancement of man, the victory of a just cause, the triumph of truth.” A blessed Christmas to you and yours.

Merry Christmas