Sunday, December 7, 2014

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker
By Father Perry D. Leiker

No one can doubt that Christmas is coming.

Turn on the radio or television. Pick up a newspaper or magazine. Walk anywhere near a store. Look at billboards. Even some streets are already decorated. Even if we are able to focus on the real meaning of Christmas (the birth of Jesus), it still may be nearly impossible to grasp the deeper meanings of this feast day.

We don’t just celebrate the birth. We celebrate to whom he comes, why he comes, what he comes for, and what are the implications of his coming even today.

We talk about messiah. We listen to scriptures of "longing" and "Waiting." We reflect upon being steeped in sin and needing to become free and liberated from desires and forces and even temptations that constrict and control and demean.

We celebrate not just the birth of Christ but also a time of salvation. We celebrate history and human kind experiencing a radical and irrevocable change that is simply and most profoundly the time of grace. We are invited to embrace our brokenness and find wholeness.

This healing will involve not just a birth but also a death – not just a crib but also a cross. There is mystery everywhere. There are signs and invitations that point to new life and hope in abundance.

This is a time of preparing and a time of finding. It cannot be wasted or be a time focusing only on the birth. It certainly must look far beyond a heavy-bearded man dressed in red. It must look to the past and to the end of time.

That is because what happened 2,000 years ago changed us forever. We are changing even in these days of preparation because of what happened way back then.

So, as the scripture says so simply today: “Be watchful! Be alert! What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112, or email

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