Behold, I Make All Things New

Decked out in a furry lamb costume, Anabelle crawled aside her fellow “barn animals,” who scurried around a homemade stable midway through a lively Nativity play during our Christmas party for the moms and children served by our mission. As Mary and Joseph made their way to the stable, a perturbed little “cow” bolted off the stage before a large angel whose wings got caught on the manger could catch him. The mild chaos, but hilarity of the scene only broadened the smiles of moms as they proudly watched their children debut in the story of the first Christmas.

Inevitably, the joyful noise made its way outside inciting the curiosity of a passerby, who wandered into the church parking lot. It is said that joy is a net that catches many souls. Shortly into a polite, but superficial conversation, the man sheepishly confessed he hadn’t been in church in 30 years and hadn’t been to confession since he was a child. “Christmas is a great time for a new start…to come back to the Church… to God.” I smiled. He was asking for it. His hollow searching eyes revealed his hunger for truth, for goodness, for beauty, for meaning. “Uh… it’s been a long time. I wouldn’t really know what to say or do…” he tried to convince himself. “Oh its simple, Father will lead you through it … if you want. God wants you back.” He looked at me and then responded without hesitation, “Okay.” His quick response almost caught me by surprise. Just then, like clockwork, a priest walked passed. Wow, I thought to myself. It was as if heaven reached down for this soul. I introduced the two and they eventually made their way into the church.

Later that evening as the festivities came to an end, I wandered into the church. The man from the parking lot was still there. This time no words were exchanged, but his face, beaming with new life, new grace, spoke volumes. “Lord, you are amazing,” I whispered under my breath. This man literally stumbled back to God, back home.

And isn’t this true of us? Heaven reaches down for each of our souls and makes a way for us to stumble back to God. Portrayed by the boisterous children in our Nativity play, this is the story of the First Christmas – God comes down to us – He appeared and the soul felt its worth. As we begin this New Year, let us remember God’s promise to us, particularly in the merciful sacrament of Confession. He waits for us and when we stumble back to Him, He makes all things new.
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