09Dear Friends in Christ,
It is always an exciting time to await the birth of a baby. The first two lines of the song Anticipation by Carly Simon says, “We can never know about the days to come,
but we think about them anyway.” Carly probably made a bundle on allowing this song to be used for ketchup, but it is still about waiting, thinking about what is to come and the mystery of what we await. We are looking forward to recalling the birth of a baby who changed the world and made it possible for us to be saved. Next weekend of December 15-16, on Gaudete Sunday, we will celebrate the blessing of the Bambinelli or Baby Jesus figurines that are from our Nativity sets. There is a beautiful custom where the Infant Jesus is not placed in the crib until after the Midnight Mass or at least after we return home from the Vigil Mass. Pope Benedict XVI said about the Bambinelli blessing in 2009: “The blessing of the “Bambinelli” [Baby Jesus figurines] as they are called in Rome, reminds us that the crib is a school of life where we can learn the secret of true joy. This does not consist in having many things but in feeling loved by the Lord, in giving oneself as a gift for others and in loving one another. Let us look at the crib. Our Lady and St Joseph do not seem to be a very fortunate family; their first child was born in the midst of great hardship; yet they are full of deep joy, because they love each other, they help each other and, especially, they are certain that God, who made himself present in the little Jesus, is at work in their story. And the shepherds? What did they have to rejoice about? That Newborn Infant was not to change their condition of poverty and marginalization. But faith helped them recognize the “babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” as a “sign” of the fulfillment of God’s promises for all human beings, “with whom he is pleased” (Lk 2: 12, 14).” Bring your Infant Jesus (no matter the size) to Mass and they will be blessed at whichever Mass you attend that weekend. When we look lovingly on the Infant Jesus before placing him in His manger, let us allow Him to come alive in our lives and take over everything. Does not any newborn child turn a household upside down? May the Lord Jesus turn our world upside down so that perhaps our lives become filled with faith, hope and love.
God bless you,