Open Your Home to God's Grace This Christmas Season

by Diocese of Des Moines | December 12, 2020

Quinlan family

Dear Parents,

Christmas is such a beautiful time, especially for those of us with children.  My two little boys are excited to celebrate with full joy, pandemic or no pandemic!  It will, of course, be a different kind of Christmas this year.  We have to accept that things will continue to be “different” for a while yet, probably well into 2021.

At this time of the year, with long nights and impending winter weather, life can become a little tough for some of us.  And in the midst of Covid, probably most of us are struggling on some levels.  Never more than in this time do we need to open our hearts and our homes to grace.  Grace is the gift of God’s mercy and power and love freely offered to sustain us in our challenges and our responsibilities.

I’d like to invite you and your family to make this Christmas and Christmas Season a time filled with the grace of Christ Jesusnull through intentional actions that welcome the Holy Spirit into your home.  Pray more as a family.  Explore the Scriptures together, especially the Gospel from each Sunday.  Develop habits of generosity and kindness, in the name of Jesus, with people both in the home and beyond.

A most powerful experience of grace comes from our participating at Sunday Mass in the parish.  There we encounter Jesus in community, Word and Sacrament.  There God nourishes us richly for the journey of life each week.  It is particularly troublesome that because of the Covid crisis these days, many are not able to feast on the richness of grace poured out for us at Sunday liturgy.

If this is the case for you, please consider making it a practice, on Christmas and on all the future Sundays until you return to gathering in person at our parishes, to participate as a family in the viewing of Mass digitally.  It is not the same as being physically present for our Catholic worship.  However, it can be a meaningful, even beautiful, family experience of faith.  We love the time together, even when the boys get squirmy. 

nullAs just one example, my boys love to play “altar server” and ring bells at the appropriate times.  Kristi and I get to teach them as we participate, even pausing at times to discuss or watch something again.  Our family longs for the day when we can feel safe returning to the Sunday celebration of the greatest gift Jesus leaves us, the Eucharist.  But we are committed to making Sundays a day of worship and celebration of God’s grace, connected to the Church, regardless the state of the current health crisis.  Won’t you use this Christmas as an opportunity to likewise commit to this for the “different” weeks or months that lie ahead?

May we keep “Christ” in Christmas especially this year, even finding new and creative ways to celebrate our Catholic faith at home.  Our responsibility to accompany our children into the light of God’s saving love has never been more primary.  Jesus’ Good News is for them this Christmas…and for you!

Tom Quinlan

Ministry Director

St. Joseph Educational Center

Diocese of Des Moines

The Diocese of Des Moines, created in 1911, serves people over a 12,446 square mile area in the southwestern quadrant of Iowa, including 23 counties.