Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
I will be waiting for a visit from Charles Dickens’ three spirits of Christmas: Christmas past, present and future. Unlike Dickens’ story, where Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three spirits separately, mine will usually come all at once.
First, Christmas “past” arrives in the form of my relatives and friends. Together, we will reminisce about the Christmases when we were all kids, waiting for Santa Claus, fighting for our positions at the dinner table, and shedding a few tears over the absence of those dear people that made every Christmas so special.
Then, there is Christmas “present,” embodied in the children of friends who are experiencing the season as only children can, with the innocence that celebrates the magic that is expressed in the decorations, songs and sweet treats. Our children construct the memories, which will be replayed years later.
Lastly, there is Christmas “future,” and that spirit is reflected in the nativity scene. It may seem strange to some that I characterize the nativity scene as Christmas “future,” when it occurred almost 2,000 years ago. The nativity is the mystery of the incarnation, God becoming one with us through His Son. This single act begins the redemption of all mankind. Our future is found in the beatific vision, which is seeing God face-to-face, surpassing any expressions and experiencing love here on earth. My “future” spirit is found not in oblivion and the grave, like the future of Scrooge, but in a kingdom for all who believe. There, the best of Christmas past, present and future will be celebrated.
This Christmas, I will be celebrating midnight Mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist (812 N. Jackson St., Milwaukee), and yes, midnight Mass begins at 12 a.m. You, my LOA friends, will be remembered in prayers and petitions.
May the Christmas spirits of the past, present and future bestow on you and your family a joyful Christmas. For God is gracious to all who LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Note: This blog originally appeared as the December 19, 2017 "Love One Another" email sent to Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee by Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki. If you are interested in signing up for these email messages, please click here.