Saint Albert Families & Friends,
The Christmas season is upon us, and among my wishes for the Saint Albert community are a blessed holiday season filled with cherished memories and a genuine celebration of Christ’s presence with your loved ones.
For many, the Christmas season is bitter-sweet. It brings great joy, yet it can magnify the distances and conflicts between loved ones. The holiday season is simply a demanding time, and it can be tempting to express our love primarily through gifts. Every year, and I mean every year, I struggle most to select gifts for my wife. After more than thirty wonderful years together, how can I provide a gift that truly shows my love for her. Honestly, there isn’t such a gift, although Cathy jokingly suggests that a week on the Florida coast, or diamonds would be an excellent start. Thankfully, setting aside holiday time with loved ones works best for both of us.
As my young adult children grow older, I see holiday pressures increasing upon them, and I witness their struggle to express love and appreciation through Christmas gifts . . . but more importantly in their struggles to set aside holiday time with loved ones. Truthfully, I most appreciate their commitment to spend time with us. Particularly, when they join us in visiting their grandparents and worshipping together with family as we celebrate Christmas.
The gift of Christ is God’s presence, love, and understanding for each of us. In visiting with our elementary students after a recent mass, I reminded them that Christ is present in each of them. I encouraged the children to share the gift of themselves by “paying attention” during Christmas.
Pay attention . . . to loved ones by offering your time, attention, and loving care to friends and relatives. Pay attention . . . to Jesus by celebrating Christ’s birth at church with family this Christmas.
With all of the gifts and preparations, it’s tempting to forget that people and relationships are the heart of Christmas. Please welcome, encourage, and even challenge one another to be present in the moments, hours, and days of this holiday season. Attend to one another while inviting your loved ones to actually sit, talk, and listen to each other. Share meals together, shop, tease, argue, laugh, and even cry together. Most importantly, take time to worship together and celebrate the gift of Christ’s presence as you attend to your loved ones.
May God bless you and your loved ones this holiday season.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
David M. Schweitzer
President, Saint Albert Catholic Schools