My Dear Friend,
One can hardly underestimate the tremendous power of
For most, the Christmas season is the year’s high
point. In my opinion, it is
also the most joy-filled and peace-filled time of the year.
I do believe Jesus would give his stamp of approval
for the general way his birthday is honored and remembered each
I say that for a number of reasons. Jesus told us to care for the
thirsty, the hungry, and the homeless. It is a fact that more time and
money is given at the Christmas season to charities which help
others than at any other time of the year.
Jesus told us to be forgiving people and to turn the
other cheek. More people who
have been hurt, alienated, and offended are also forgiven and brought
back together at the Christmas season than at any other time of the
Jesus wanted us to share our unconditional love with
others just as frequently as possible. And we do that in our sending of
Christmas cards to family and friends. We do that in our generous gift
giving. We spend endless
hours making candy, baking cookies, sewing quilts, and creating so
many other things simply so these objects of time and labor can, in
a spirit of love, be given to others.
During the Christmas season we sing songs of peace and
good will. We go out of our
way to say hello and wish, even to strangers, “Merry
Christmas.” During the
Christmas season people are more polite, they are generally in a
better mood, and they reconnect with friends and family members
more than at any other time of the year. I do very sincerely believe Jesus
would like this so very much.
We live in an imperfect world. And I know that while our annual
Christmas celebration might not be as perfect as possible, I really
do believe Jesus would be most satisfied and pleased with the way
the Christian world celebrates his birth.
So please don’t offend Jesus this
coming Christmas season. Share most
abundantly, give most generously, forgive those who may have
offended you, keep a smile on your face, and most importantly of
all, let the love which Jesus
has planted in your heart shine upon as many others as possible,
not only on Christmas day, but also during all the days of the
And there is still one more priceless gift to be
shared which I yet to mention, and
that is the gift of prayer. For what other gift if more
precious, more welcomed, and certainly more valuable than the gift
of prayer? There’s no other
gift which cost so little but which is more appreciated and
welcomed. So please do
give the gift of prayer most generously during the 2014 Christmas
And one of the best ways of sharing the gift of prayer
this Christmas season is by blessing
the lives of a few others with the enclosed Christmas Mass Novena
cards. Each card blesses
the receiver with the spiritual gift of being prayed for in two
Christmas Mass Novenas, one prayed here at Our Lady’s Shrine and
the other in the Holy City of Nazareth.
on the enclosed form the names of those receiving these cards,
along with the names of any others you also want enrolled in the
Christmas Mass Novenas. On this form
you can also write any additional personal prayer petitions you
would like prayed for in these two Mass Novenas.
I’d also encourage you to send along with your novena
enrollment names a special Christmas donation in support of the
Shrine’s ministries which touch the lives of so many thousands of
troubled, hungry, and seeking people each year.
If your Christmas donation is $25 or more, I’d like to
show my deep appreciation by lighting for your intentions a
long-burning Christmas Votive Candle here at the Immaculate Heart
of Mary Shrine. If you would
perhaps like this candle to be lit in the name of another person, please make sure to write that
person’s name on your Mass Novena enrollment form.
While the Christmas season is still a number of weeks
away, please let me be the first to wish you and those you love a
very joyful and peace-filled Christmas season. May you and your family be
blessed with an abundance of happiness and good health, both during
the final weeks of 2014 and during all of 2015.
In the love and peace of Our Blessed Savior,
Fr. Raymond M. Dien, C.M.C.
P.S. If your Christmas donation is $50 or more, I will not only
have a Christmas Votive Candle lit for your intentions, or that of
another person, but will also
see that a gift tag, with your name written upon it, is attached to
one of the beautiful poinsettia plants which will decorate the
Shrine’s Chapel this coming holiday season.