by Fr. Robert Yori, associate priest of MH.
During this Advent and Christmas season, I’d like to share with you some Christmas memories that have come to mind recently.
My father died before I knew him—when I was not even three years old. My mother was left with two of my older brothers and my older sister as well as with my younger brother and myself.
But in spite of the fact that there was little money, I remember how my mother, brothers, and sister always provided my youngest brother and me with toys and clothes for Christmas.
Obviously, they sacrificed themselves a great deal to bring this joy to us.
Then one Christmas, in 1941 or ‘42, when I was 12 or 13, I remember standing by the Christmas tree and looking down at the manger scene. I remember thinking that now, it did not matter to me if I received any presents or not, but only that my family as well as others would receive something nice.
Many years later, it occurred to me that that was a pregnant moment of grace, which had been fostered by my family. It was the seed that developed into my calling to serve God’s people in a special way.
I have another Christmas memory to share with you as well. The year 1954 found me in the third of my four years of service in the American Air Force. I was stationed in Saudi Arabia, and providentially, while there, I had the opportunity to spend two or three days visiting the Holy Land, including the town of Bethlehem.
I remember how low I had to bend in order to enter into the place where Jesus was born.
But how much lower did Jesus have to bend in coming to us! As we read in chapter 3 of St. Paul’s letter to the people of Philippi:
Have this mind in you which was in Christ Jesus: who though he was God did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at. Rather, he emptied himself and took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men.
Now, many years later, Christmas and these Christmas memories and reflections are much more meaningful to me. For I now know that Jesus’ great gift was himself.
I also now understand the deep teaching of Christmas: as God gave himself to us, we are called to give the gift of ourselves—to him and to others.
If you enjoy our articles, we ask you to please consider subscribing to the print edition of Restoration; it's only $10 a year, and will help us stay in print. Thanks, and God bless you!