By Father Harold Hammond

Christmas is a time for family.

The airlines are crowded, the trains are bulging, the highways are jammed with cars. All of these traveling people have one thing in common: They're all "going home."

There is something so deep within us that longs to be with family, with those we love. We go to great lengths to be together at Christmastide. We buy gifts in an effort to "make happy" those near and dear to us. For a little while, we get away from our focus on ourselves, and feel the need to give gifts and be together. It is an unselfish time.

New Year, however, is the time we become selfish again, and spend the evening drinking and eating and partying, to satisfy ourselves. New Year's Day, we stay home and watch parades and football, and eat and eat and eat.

Christmas is when we remember and re-live the events of that first holy event when God came to earth and became a man, and walked among us, blessing and healing, and encouraging and showing us the way back to the Father in Heaven.

And remember, he came to us as a little, newborn baby. And he was born into a family, a Holy Family. There was his mother, Mary, a pure virgin, and Joseph, his step-father. There were angels, and shepherds, there were wise men from the east. There were oxen and donkeys and camels.

There was no room for him in the inn, so he was born in a lowly stable, in the manger, where the animals feed, upon the straw, and wrapped in swaddling clothes.

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:8-11, KJV.

Blessings in the Babe of Bethelem, Father Hammond