January 8, 2017


The official holiday season is over but we continue to experience the Spirit of Christmas Past, 
Present and Future. I am grateful for the memories of my childhood (Christmas Past) and the wonderful anticipation of being awoken on Christmas morning and together with my sister and brother coming downstairs to witness the generosity of "Santa." At the time, the emotions were excitement and spontaneity, as we opened our presents and thanked each other for our personal gifts. We were all in our pajamas and we were very protective of our own space under the tree. I remember that the last gift to be opened was the stocking that hung on the mantle by the chimney. In those days we did not have Christmas Eve Masses except for Midnight Mass, so we all went in the morning. Then, it was back home for the day to play with our toys (electric train or Cape Canaveral set). I always loved the fact that we travelled to visit relatives on other holidays but on Christmas they came to us. 

At this time in my life (Christmas Present) my parents are deceased so a lot of things have changed. My brother lives in Pennsylvania, so I spend Christmas with my sister and her family. I am blessed to have this opportunity and to surround myself with the Hogan family (my sister, her husband, their children and grandchildren). I have the privilege of reliving my Christmas Past through the excitement and spontaneity of the children around the Christmas tree. Obviously the toys have changed. My sister is good enough to do my shopping for me. She knows what they need and want. I get a kick out of how the wrapping paper is ripped and discarded. When we were growing up we had to open the gifts carefully and save the wrapping paper for the next Christmas. I can smile when I think about it because I inherited my mother's frugality. Of course today none of this takes place until I have celebrated many Christmas Masses with the wonderful people of the parishes I serve. 

It is hard to project as the years go by (Christmas Future) and I can get emotional just writing this because we all get older and there will be a Christmas holiday when I will no longer be able to be with my family due to illness or death. This could be depressing except for the fact that I also celebrate Easter, so I know there is a life after this life. I hope I have many more opportunities to open gifts and watch others open theirs. It is amazing what goes through your mind at the time. The location may change, the personalities may change, the gifts may change, but the Spirit of Christmas continues. I have been privileged to celebrate more than many, and I am grateful. I think of all the parishes in which I have celebrated Christmas Masses. In the immediate future I will be celebrating with you. In the next life I will celebrate once again with those who taught me and were with me on my very first Christmas.  What goes around comes around. 

You are loved! 
Enjoy Life! 
Fr. Ron Coyne


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