The Catholic Parish of
Saint John Henry Newman

 Covering most of East Leeds

Once Upon A Time.

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If Jesus had been born in our times, we would be able to trace every day of his life. There would be hundreds even thousands of hours of video taped interviews with his family, neighbours, friends and teachers. CD’s and audio tapes of his homilies would all be on the best sellers list and sold in their millions. Politicians would woo him and seek his endorsement at election time. Daily papers would cover stories and report his teachings,
insights and perspectives. He would probably appear on “Newsnight” and be interviewed by Jeremy Paxman who would ask, “So, you claim to be the Son of God and also perform miracles – do you really expect us all to believe this?”

Two thousand years ago, there were no Christmas trees with coloured flickering lights, with tinsel and mistletoe, or festive wreaths, or reindeers, or fat men in funny red suits. These things that tend to delight and charm us, can be a terrible distraction and are light years away from what really happened on that hillside in a small village called Bethlehem. On that night, there was a scared girl, Mary, in her early teens, having a baby in a stable lying on straw. The girl’s husband, Joseph, must have been out of his mind with wonder, fear and anxiety and then the baby was born, a boy, just as God had predicted.

The message of Christmas can be summed up in these words, spoken by the Archangel Gabriel when he spoke to Mary: “You shall conceive and bear a son and you shall call him “Emmanuel.” (A name which means “God-with-us”) not, God with us at Christmas time, but God-with-us-always! God gave us the first Christmas gift, but a gift is only a gift when we accept it and make it part of our lives.

St Augustine puts it beautifully when he writes;”A man or woman whose hands are full of parcels cannot receive yet another gift.”

“How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given!”

Published Fri 14th Dec 2012 13:10:09

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