A Christmas Invitation

Advent is a profound moment in the Church’s year. As we pray the Mass, as we hear the readings, as we ponder the mysteries, we’re really studying the grand panorama of salvation history. In these few short weeks, we relive the longing and expectation of God’s people as they awaited the Messiah.
It’s also a chance to review our personal history, and to appreciate how God continues to work in our lives. For even now “we wait in joyful hope” for the kingdom to come in its fullness, and God is bringing that moment about gradually, through lives like yours and mine.
Looking back on 2010, I marvel at the way God has blessed us — and blessed many people through our work. Our Journey Through Scripture program experienced explosive growth this year. In August, we set a new attendance record when we enrolled 140 people in Sacramento, California, and taught them how to lead our study “The Bible and the Sacraments.” But within a month we broke that record when we trained almost 200 in Lubbock, Texas. In November, we were back on the road, to Covina, California.
Remember: those are leaders we’re reaching. They’re pastors, directors of religious education, and highly motivated lay people. So each of them will, in turn, reach dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of others as they go about their own work to proclaim the Word of God.
Their message goes out to all the earth! Through their efforts, thousands have already attended our Bible studies in parishes throughout the world. In 2010 we trained a team of Australians to lead the studies. Teams are also leading the studies in Sweden, England and Mexico. In 2010 our “Genesis to Jesus” program appeared in Spanish, and the other studies are soon to follow.
All this took place in the midst of continued economic hardship. Thanks be to God that His grace does not rely on government programs or a big bank account. His power, it seems, is made perfect in our weakness (see 2 Corinthians 12:9).
All we need to do is correspond to it faithfully, as you’ve done through your generous prayers, your encouragement, and your contributions.
Join me, please, in presenting Journey Through Scripture to the infant Jesus as our Christmas present. We can do it silently in our hearts, maybe at Midnight Mass.
Let’s give it as a token of our faith in His promises, our hope in the kingdom still to come in its fullness, and our love for the people he has placed in our lives.
When I founded the St. Paul Center, I dreamt of a day when travelers could enter any city, look for the best Bible study, and find it in the local Catholic parish. The day is fast approaching, thanks to you.