Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Sunday 25 July |
The Feast of Saint James the Great
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Welcome the Stranger, Even at Christmas Eve Mass


Cari Donaldson - published on 12/19/14

I look around my temporarily full-to-bursting parish and I see hope. I see people who, despite 364 days of absence, still carve out time — during the busiest season of the year — to come and spend a sweaty, cramped hour thanking God for the gift of the Incarnation. I see people who, despite the non-stop, insane droning of secularism and consumerism, hear God’s voice calling to them, and respond by filling pews and folding chairs, putting themselves in front of the Real Presence, even if for only one Mass a year.

Yes, it would be a wonderful thing indeed if parishes were this full every Sunday.  Even better, if they were this full daily.  But that’s not where we are here in 21st century America.  So while it is so tempting to scowl at the Christmas crowds, and sigh at being relegated to the backidy back of a church you attend faithfully, and speculate about the worthiness of the people receiving Eucharist, it is so much more hopeful to give the Christ Child an offering of love by welcoming the stranger. If it helps, remember Mary and Joseph and the inn.  See every person in that hot, crowded parish as a weary traveler, looking for refuge, having followed a star that brought them here, to a God who came to us as a tiny child, and who still comes to us as a humble piece of bread.

Welcome the stranger, and you welcome the Christ Child Himself.

Cari Donaldsonis the author of Pope Awesome and Other Stories: How I Found God, Had Kids, and Lived to Tell the Tale. She married her high school sweetheart, had six children with him, and now spends her days homeschooling, writing, and figuring out how to stay one step ahead of her child army. She blogs about faith and family life at

  • 1
  • 2
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
This morning prayer is easy to memorize
Cerith Gardiner
8 Powerful quotes from Nightbirde that will fill you with hope
Daniel Esparza
5 Curious things you might not know about Catholicism
Philip Kosloski
Why is Latin the official language of the Church, instead of Aram...
Daniel Esparza
3 Legendary pilgrimages off the beaten path
Daniel Esparza
Who are the cherubim in the Bible?
Zelda Caldwell
Did Jesus wear “tefillin” as some observant Jews do t...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.