Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Many of you must have heard of a true Christmas miracle that happened in December 1997 in Wisconsin. A little boy and his grandmother went to see Santa at the Mayfair Mall. The child climbed up on Santa’s lap, holding a picture of a little girl. The girl in the picture was nine year old Sara, the only sister of that boy. Sara had leukemia and wasn’t expected to make it through Christmas. After completing their visit with Santa, the grandmother, with tears in her eyes, asked Santa if he could visit Sara in the hospital. Santa had a daughter who was of the same age as Sara, so despite his busy schedule he visited her at the hospital. After talking with her and giving her toys, he said a heartfelt prayer over her and left with a heavy heart. One year later Santa was back at the Mayfair Mall for his regular annual duty. A little girl sat on Santa’s lap and said: “Do you remember me Santa? You came to see me in the hospital last year!” Santa’s jaw dropped. With tears of joy, he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest. That was Santa’s best Christmas ever.
Christmas is a time of miracles and like the aforementioned story we have heard numerous miraculous stories of all kinds. Besides the physical healing Our Lord gives at the time of His birthday, we have heard of anonymous people paying food bills and department store bills of the poor and of single mothers who are struggling to buy Christmas presents for their children.
Like all other years this year also our own parishioners have donated hundreds of gifts to poor children through our giving tree program. Others have given gift cards for food and presents worth thousands of dollars. All these are nothing short of a Christmas miracle. We perform these good deeds inspired by the greatest miracle that happened in the birth of the Son of God. The beautiful decorations, and exchange of presents, are nothing but the external expression of the joy that is within our hearts.
When Jesus was born, He was born in a stable and laid in a manger. The Almighty and Eternal God, the Creator of heaven and earth, had no place to be born in His own creation. He did all this because of His love for you and me.
In 1958, St. John XXIII, in his first Christmas homily as a Pope, mentioned about a donkey who always felt that it was useless and had nothing to offer to human beings. By chance it came to the cave that night when Christ was born and looking up saw a baby in the manger. He walked up to the manger and sat down by the infant. It was a cold wintry night and the baby was cold.
The donkey began breathing heavily on the baby. After a while, the baby reached up and patted the muzzle of the donkey —as if to say: ‘Thank you. Thank you for keeping me warm on this cold wintry night.’
The Pope said; “For that’s the way it is with Almighty God. All He wants is the warm breath of a living soul. You give him that and he will take care of the rest.”
Today Jesus is once again born in a society which is very cold to Him. Jesus is counting on you today. You may not have expensive gifts like the Magi. But will you give Him your warm breath of love and your warm heart to the New Born Savior? As you adore the king of kings laying in a manger, open your hearts to the miracle Baby of Bethlehem and He will bring miracles in your life even in the midst of fear and anxiety.
With immense joy and gratitude, on behalf of Fr. Russell, Deacons Emmet, Paul and Andy, and our parish staff, I thank you for being part of St. Mark parish family, and I wish each and every one of you and those dearest to you, both near and far, A VERY BLESSED, HOLY, AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!
May our Lord Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem, bless you, your families and loved ones, and give you peace and joy that the world cannot give. May Mary, the Mother of Our Savior, and our other, watch over you and your families during this Holy Season and in the New Year.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
With love and every blessing,
Fr. Birendra Soreng
Pastor, St. Mark Church