Today we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and with our celebration today, fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you view it, we draw our Christmas season to a close. The trees, the statues in our nativity scene, and all the Christmas decorations go back into storage for another year.
My grandma never liked to see the Christmas season to come to a close. Unfortunately, I never asked her why, or if I did, I do not remember her answer. But I think I now know the reason. Grandma liked Christmas and she had special decorations. I remember the hut of her nativity scene had a music box that would play Christmas music. Eventually, it wore out or the dial got hard to turn. In her later years, she had Hallmark singing angels and she loved to show them off.
But what I think what was special for Grandma was not so much about the decorations, but that Christmas brought family together. And Grandma loved the love that was a part of these gatherings. She did not like it when people had to leave.
At the end of the Christmas season, it can feel like the love that was a part of this season goes into storage with the rest of the Christmas decorations. Particularly as we journey in January, in the dog days of winter, when the temperatures are cold outside, and the snow and ice can leave us stuck inside. And for many of us, our lives return to the normal routine. I think Grandma found this time of year to be rather depressing. And I agree with Grandma, the love and the joy that was a part of Christmas Season can feel like it goes into storage.
While Christmas decorations go back into storage, the love and the joy that are part of this Christmas can stay out the whole year. In our Scriptures today, after Jesus was baptized a voice speaks from heaven saying to him, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased”’ (Luke 6:22). God speaks through Isaiah about a chosen servant with whom he is well pleased. The message of being chosen, of being loved, and being pleased are words that we are meant to hear. That our God has chosen us, loves us and is pleased with us is something that we feel during this Christmas season, and as we journey back to normal times, it is important for us to be reminded of that we are chosen, loved, and God is pleased with us. And at times it is important for us to remind each other of this fact.
We do this well at Christmas, but this is something that our faith calls for us to do throughout the year. We should share it particularly with those who might find it hard to hear that message that they are chosen by God, loved by God, and that God is well pleased with them. Who do you know you today that needs to hear this message? And how can you share this message with them?
Fr. Matt Keller, C.PP.S., is the parochial vicar of the Downtown Dayton Catholic Parishes, which includes Emmanuel, Holy Trinity and St. Joseph.