2019 Christianity once again celebrates the Nativity of Jesus Christ according to the flesh. The festive atmosphere of the season saturates our homes with Christmas melodies, the tantalizing aroma of baked goods, radiantly bright decorations honoring this blessed occasion and, of course, the Christmas gifts. Ultimately the focus is our family and friends gathering around the table at Christmas as we enjoy the holiday celebration together. All these wonderful delights come together to create a magical atmosphere on this major Christian holiday. The Christmas story begins with a cold and dingy stable in Bethlehem, the visitation of the simple, yet kind-hearted local shepherds, the resplendent angelic hymns and the dazzling star in the East that guides the Maggi to the sacred manger so they may worship the King of Kings. What a panoramic sight! This entire scene inspires our hearts with love and reassures us with a sense of peace that we have never before felt. BUT ONE MIGHT ASK, WHY WASN’T THE CHRIST BORN LIKE EVERYONE ELSE? After Christ’s Resurrection, the apostles interviewed St. Mary to understand the full details of the Savior’s birth. While carefully listening to the nativity narrative, they perceived the deeper, underlying meaning of the Christmas Story. They understood that Christ’s arrival to the world summoned the Creation of a New Humanity. After the original Adam failed, God became more determined to succeed. He sent His only-begotten Son. God birthed Jesus Christ, the Second Adam, with the collaboration of the purity of St. Mary. God transfigured the world by creating the New World of Jesus Christ. He established the “new creation” with a defining axis centered on love, freedom and justice. Christ’s dramatic appearance in the world allowed God’s Will to directly challenge each of us. Fatalism and desolation were everywhere. Life seemed hopeless and discouraging. Christ’s dynamic presence changed the entire flow of history by offering mankind the new creation: a world based on love. God’s intervention encouraged us with optimism and the ability to succeed. Christ arrived in a hostile environment: the foul smelling barn, the forced refugee status in Egypt and ultimately His death on the Cross. His countrymen overlooked Him. Even His own nation was bleak and inhospitable. Christ never took his eyes off of His providence to offer life to the world. Again this year you are invited, as a parish community, to celebrate the incredible story of Christmas. Christ came to us out of God’s love for all of mankind. We know very well that the world can be a lonely and cruel place, but God’s love sustains and comforts each of us. To participate, we need to embrace Jesus with gladness and extend to Him our own love. Let us attend Church and rededicate ourselves to Christ and to His parish under the patronage of St. Anthony. A MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!