The weeks around Christmas came to mind when reading these passages. With two daughters away at college most of the year, the family Christmas celebration has become different and the same as in past years. As my daughters mature their visits take on a new flavor. They are not as dependent on their parents. Friends and social activities take on more importance for them. The excitement around the tree on Christmas morning is more muted, as well as the gift giving. Christmas has taken on a more reflective role as well as a less hectic pace. I realized change in life is inevitable.
While there are changes there is also continuity. We continue to maintain many of the traditions in our family such as our traditional Polish meal on Christmas, Christmas Eve Mass, putting up a live tree, enjoying extended family and having the week between Christmas and New Year’s off to spend together in family activities. While experiencing change with my children’s visit, our family was also able to maintain its traditions. Many of these came from generations past and hopefully will continue on well into the future.
As with our family’s Christmas the readings point to both change and continuity. In the first reading we see God has made an oath to his people he will be with them “to bless them” forever. The original covenant God made with Abraham spans from the Old Testament to the New. Paul points out that we have “an anchor of the soul” as Jesus becomes “a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” There is both continuity in Christ as well as fulfillment. In the Gospel reading the new high priest (Jesus) breaks Jewish Sabbath traditions to the horror of the Pharisees. Christ is establishing himself as the new high priest and “lord even of the Sabbath.” So as I experience and see my family change, yet remain the same, so does God’s relationship with man change as Christ is born and walks the earth and becomes the new high priest. I must always remember that in Christ’s birth, death and resurrection lies my hope and salvation.
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