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Father Muench Says...

The most exciting Christmas

December 16, 2020

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

I have decided that today’s column will be my Christmas card to you for this year. So, I begin by wishing you all a happy Christmas. As I offer my Christmas greetings I hope and pray that you have remained healthy and happy during this confusing year of the coronavirus. I also hope that you have been able to deal with all the anxiety that has bothered us all.

I want to remind you of the message of Christmas: the celebration of the incarnation of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus came to live among us and to teach us. Jesus demonstrated God’s great love for us by his life and sufferings, his death and resurrection.

As I send along my Christmas greetings to you, I want to promise to pray for you and your family. I will remember you all in my Christmas Masses. I consider you all a part of my family. I think of each of you each time I sit down to write this column. Thank you for your constant support.

Each time I sit down to write Christmas cards, I think of all sort of messages that I want to include. However, what usually comes to mind for me is what has become the most exciting day of my life. My Christmas memories always include that day. I have told you this story many times.

It was about 23 years ago. Susan and Paul invited me to the birth of their second child, Will. I do remember Susan’s invitation. She said that I had something important to learn. She was right. I guarantee you that it was a time that I have never forgotten. I still remember every detail from that experience.

I was in Ticonderoga when my secretary, Diane, notified me as I came into the rectory after making some calls that something was happening in Syracuse. I called and they told me to get moving. I did get there in time.

I accompanied Susan and Paul to St. Joseph’s. I do remember overhearing one of the nurses saying to the other, “My goodness, they’ve brought along their own priest.” I did take a moment to introduce myself as the-soon-to-be-born baby’s uncle.

I remember doing all I could to stay out of the way, however, everything was so fascinating! I simply stood off to the side. One of the nurses stood next to me; she promised to explain it all to me. Actually, I know she was there to make certain I wasn’t going to do something outrageous.

Many have asked me what prayers I said during Will’s birth. I have to admit to you that I didn’t say any prayers at all. I was simply so extremely impressed and absorbed by all that was happening. I do remember offering a blessing later as I was allowed to hold the infant – a rather unique experience holding a newborn, at least for me.

I do continue to remember the spirit that filled that room as this young father supported his wife as she gave birth. It was such a spirit of love. That spirit that touched us all – doctor, nurses and this neophyte priest on the scene. I truly want to tell you it was certainly the most exciting day of my life.

After Susan and the baby were settled in a room for the night, Paul and I stopped for coffee at an all-night café. I remember the conversation. It was a moment for hopes and dreams.

So, that is my Christmas card. I wish I had a little musical talent. I would close with a Christmas song, maybe “The First Noel.” I always liked that one. Each Christmas, I call to mind my Christmas story being permitted to be at Will’s birth.

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