posted Dec 23, 2015, 4:42 PM by Church Office   [ updated Dec 23, 2015, 4:42 PM by Michelle Massung ]
Before I get started with my homily, on behalf of myself, Fr. John Gibbons, and the parish family here at Ss. Peter and Paul, we want to wish all of you a Merry and Blessed Christmas.


I am sure most of you have seen “The Charlie Brown Christmas”.  It has been on several times this year.  However, in order to set the stage for my homily, let me play a short scene from the show.


As you heard, Linus tells us what Christmas is all about.  However, as many times as we have seen and heard him give this speech, something was pointed out to me that if you go home and pull up our website, there will be a link to this scene.  Now remember, Linus is the character that carries around his blue blanket and nothing can separate him from his blanket.  Not Sally, his girlfriend, not Charlie Brown, not Snoopy, not even Lucy can separate Linus from his blanket.  It is his most prized possession.  It is his identity as a person.  In essence, it is truly a part of him.  However, when reciting the passage from Luke, when he gets to the part that says “fear not” he drops his blanket.  He lets go of the blanket to open his heart to receive Christ into his heart.  He opens himself up to God by letting go of that which he loved so he could focus his love on Jesus and not on his blanket.


For over 40 years, I too hung onto my most prized possession, my bottle of whiskey.  As an alcoholic, I loved drinking more than I love Jesus.  I was afraid to let go of the bottle because it was just like Linus’ blanket; it was part of me and my identity.  I was afraid that if I let go of the bottle, people would think less of me.  It was my security that helped me get through the good times in my life as well as the bad.


So as Linus says in the scene on the stage, what is the true meaning of Christmas?  It is letting go of those things that prevent you from letting Jesus enter your heart on Christmas.  It is not being afraid to let go of those things in your life that you love more than Jesus.  To me it was my bottle.  To Linus, it was his blanket, to you it may be shopping, or anger, or jealously, or greed, or envy.  Whatever it is, have the same courage that Linus and I had and drop what is holding you back from taking the hand of Jesus.  He is the true gift of love that has come into the world to provide you the love and support in a manner that is not false like my alcohol.  He is the one that you can trust to help you through the good times and bad if you are willing to let him.  All he asks is that you give him a chance.  This Christmas, let go of what you are holding onto that is preventing you from truly experiencing Jesus love for you.  Do not be afraid and trust that letting go will be the best thing you ever did.  It was for me and I am confident it will be for you.


Part of letting go is focusing on others and not on our own selfish interests.  We as a parish family try to help others in many ways.  We give 10% of our weekly offering to the poor here in Philipsburg.  We are trying  to make a difference in the community.  That means 10 cents of every dollar you give will go to the poor, rather than to the parish.  We as a parish trust that by letting go of our own resources, God will bless us.  We also sponsor blood drives, provide meals for the needy, collect coats and winter clothing, buy presents for families in need and so many other activities that put the needs of others ahead of our own parish needs.  As a result of our generosity, God has blessed us many times over.  If you want to make a difference in this community and in the lives of those in need, please join us on a regular basis and see what a difference you can make.  It doesn’t take much, yet a little goes a long way when we all work together. 


May God continue to bless all of you this Christmas season and provide you a healthy and prosperous New Year.


Sincerely in Christ

Fr. John Gibbons