Roger Behm, Minot
I decided to attend the Christmas Eve mass at our church, but knew that I'd better get an early start. That mass fills up early and I thought there would be plenty of room if I arrived 35 minutes early. The church was already packed. Where were you people last Sunday? Although the church was very crowded I was able to find a seat close to the front of the church and close enough to see the beautiful Nativity scene. The Christ Child was still part of the Nativity scene. Hopefully, there won't be an incident of a disoriented atheist who may stumble into the church thinking he may be entering a bingo hall and tell us that the Christ Child must be removed.
While looking around the church I saw many types of people. Many parents with their children and many grandparents like myself who were wishing they were with their grandchildren. A few children were restless and asking important questions. I thought to myself about how important these questions may be to those children. I wish I could have answered every one of them. I also noticed many seniors who may not be with us next Christmas. As the Spirit of Christmas Present stated to Scrooge about Tiny Tim, "there will be a vacant place at Bob Cratchit's table next year." Maybe my own place at the communion table will be vacant next year. Hopefully, those seniors who are no longer with us will be looking down from heaven and praying for our world next year.
Father's sermon mentioned the many things that children may have wished for and received over the past 50 years. One item that father did miss and probably the most important gift was from God. It was the gift of redemption. Although the gift of redemption does not happen till Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the beginning of this process could never have happened without the birth of the Christ child. Jesus then lived on this earth like the rest of us, except for a few miracles, for another 33 years. Fortunately for us Christ died on the cross for the redemption of our sins.
Now that the hectic gift giving and gift returning seasons are over, I hope that you will take time to remember the true meaning of Christmas all year long. I also hope and pray that you will all have a prosperous and healthy new year.