Sam told me a few weeks ago that he wants to be like God because God is nice and good.
I told him that was great, and went back to being busy.
What I should have told him is that he can be like Him ... because of Christmas. That Jesus became a Son of Man so that we can be called the children of God. And in the same way that Sam resembles Patrick and I in his actions and attitudes, he can resemble his Heavenly Father too. That he is creative, because God is the Creator. That he loves baby Pascal because God is Love. That all the good and glad things in his heart are there because God is good and glad.
I was saddened to learn of the passing of my friends' father this week. He was one of the most deeply good men I have ever known. He was bright and energetic and kind. He loved Jesus and his wife and his children actively and joyfully. His beautiful character was an echo of God's own heart in the world. He was like Sam's wish - nice and good.
And this year, his family will mark Christmas without him, without that kind and joyful presence among them. But they will not grieve like many. They will grieve with hope.
Because of the manger.
Which led to the cross.
Which led to the grave.
Which led to the sky.
Where Jesus will bring many sons and daughters to glory.
If there are empty places around your table this Christmas, my dear friends, I pray that the manger will whisper its hope of a forever-Christmas to your heart, and give you comfort and peace.
Merry Christmas, friends.