By Fr. George Welzbacher
December 24, 2006
To each and every member of the Parish of St. John my prayerful wishes for a Blessed Christmas, with an abundant outpouring of the grace and peace that only the Christ Child can give and that He is eager to give to those who walk humbly in His way! In. our prayers and Masses during this holy season let us offer heart-felt thanks to Christ our Lord Who, as the only-begotten Son of God, in common with the Father is possessed from all eternity of a nature that is invulnerable, invincible and powerful without limit, Who in His love for us took to Himself our human nature, a nature beset on every side by limitation, dependence and subjection to pain and death. "Though He was by nature God," St. Paul assures us (Philippians 2: 6-8), "He emptied Himself of the privileges of Godhead, taking on the nature of a slave, becoming obedient unto death, even death upon a cross." To Him be all honor and praise and thanksgiving forever!
St. John reminds us (I John 1:7) that "if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another." So it is that members of Christian families will find that in their loving adoration of the Christ Child the bonds that join them to one another will grow proportionately stronger, too. Accordingly it makes eminently good sense for families to engage together in various family activities during Twelfth Night (traditionally the twelve-day period of celebration from Christmas to the Feast of the Epiphany). May I offer some suggestions for such family activities:
(1) Ice-skating, tobogganing and skiing (this year at least in those centers that can provide artificial snow);
(2) Attending a formal Christmas High Tea in the afternoon at the Caf'eLatte on St. Paul's Grand Avenue. (reservations recommended);
(3) Driving at night through residential areas that are elaborately decorated with festoons of light: e.g., the whole length of Summit Avenue or the Edgcumbe Road district in St. Paul and Minnehaha Boulevard in Minneapolis;
(4) Visiting the Minnesota Zoo, with additional appreciation of the huge I-Max Theatre and in the evening the Zoo's sumptuous display of Christmas lighting;
(5) Visiting the Science Museum across from St. Paul's Xcel Center;
(6) Visiting the Period Rooms in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, rooms that are decorated in the style of Christmas celebration that prevailed respectively in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, with appropriately costumed guides;
(7) Making a leisurely and attentive visit to some of the Twin Cities architectural masterpieces such as the Cathedral of St. Paul, the Minnesota State Capitol, the Ordway Theatre, all in St. Paul, and in Minneapolis the Basilica and the IDS tower (with its breath-taking observation deck way up on top!);
(8) Though I haven't seen it myself, the family movie Happy Feet has had excellent reviews. I have not yet seen The Nativity Story, and so I cannot say at this time whether the film is in all respects theologically sound;
(9) Organizing a family talent show.
These are a few suggestions. If you put on your thinking caps, you may well come up with a list of your own.
And finally, especially if your house is now a proverbial "empty nest", one can settle down with a good book!
A BLESSED CHRISTMAS AND A HEALTHY AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!