Column: What are you looking forward to?

Mark my words
Father Mark Goldasich is the pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Tonganoxie. He has been editor of the Leaven since 1989.

by Father Mark Goldasich

THIS. does. not. get. old. EVER.

So reads a post and video on Facebook put up by a former Hayden High School student that I know. She goes on to say, “Reliving the glory again.” In case you can’t guess what she’s talking about, perhaps this will help clarify things: #ForeverRoyal.

I couldn’t agree with her more! I’ve watched this particular video (by Mr. Bryndon Minter at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KP1p31QiXw8) entitled “No Fluke” on YouTube, many times (as well as plenty of other Royals highlights) and THIS. does. not. get. old. EVER.

It’s such a fantastic experience to relive the glory that was the Royals’ 2015 season. The best part in watching the videos is that we already know the outcome. So, no matter how dicey things look at any point in the game, the good guys will win in the end. That fact eliminates all stress.

The Royals’ world championship came to mind as I read the following little story:

A pastor by the name of David Peterson was preparing a sermon when his little daughter bounced into the room and asked, “Daddy, can we play?”

“I’m awfully sorry, sweetheart,” said her dad, “but I’m right in the middle of preparing this sermon. In about an hour, I can play.”

“OK,” said the little girl. “When you’re finished, I’ll give you a great big hug.”

She skipped off to the door, but then did a sudden U-turn and came back to give her dad a bone-crushing hug.

“Hey,” said the grinning dad,” I thought you said you were going to give me a hug after I finished.”

“Well, I just wanted you to know what you have to look forward to,” said the sweet girl as she scampered off. (Adapted from “Good Things Ahead,” found in “1001 Illustrations That Connect,” edited by Craig Brian Larson and Phyllis Ten Elshof.)

Isn’t that a great image for Christmas? Jesus was born into our world — became one like us — not only to free us from sin, but to show us “what we have to look forward to.” His teachings and his miracles brought a glimpse of heaven right here on earth. His resurrection from the dead showed us what we, his followers, ultimately have to look forward to.

We don’t have to wait until our death to experience heavenly glory, however. We get a taste of it here on earth, even though the full banquet awaits us in heaven. In the gathering of friends and family in these days, God’s love breaks through. In the Christmas carols that we hear, angelic voices are heard. In the Christmas cards we receive, the message of God’s care is reflected. In the gifts that are exchanged, God’s generosity is mirrored. In all of the lights and decorations, we glimpse the Light who is to come. In the relaxation we enjoy, the peace of God is once more made manifest.

Although its meaning will change over the years, this feast day should always be a time of hope, joy, promise and contentment. Last year, I received a Christmas card produced by Abbey Press, which is owned by the Benedictine monks of St. Meinrad Archabbey in southern Indiana. I kept it because its words seemed to capture so well the evolving spirit of this special time of the year.

Here’s what was on the card:

“The older I get the simpler my holiday preparations become, the closer I feel to old friends as I write my Christmas cards, the more I cherish the oldest ornaments, the more fondly I remember Christmases past, the longer I hold onto a holiday hug, the more I realize Christmas is a matter of the heart, the tighter my throat gets when I sing ‘Silent Night,’ the more I enjoy giving than receiving, the more I try to see Christmas through the eyes of a child, the longer I sit at night in the glow of the Christmas tree, the more wondrously beautiful the Christmas story is, the deeper my awe of God’s infinite love, the More I Love Christmas!”

I hope that this final week of Advent reminds you of what you have to look forward to at Christmastime. May your days be filled to the brim with family and friends, music, laughter and contentment.

Christmas: THIS. does. not. get. old. EVER. #ForeverJesus

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