This week's reflection is a prayerful response to an article I read by Dr. Chris Anthony of Catholic Online. It speaks of the true hope of Christmas. I pray that this message will remain with you throughout this season.
Christmas is a commemoration of God's coming into the world. He came for all of us - believers and non-believers alike. His birth should bring us hope and triumph which will dispel the sadness from our lives. But after years of celebrating Christmas after Christmas many of us are yet to see that triumph in our lives and our hopes may be giving way to despair. Has the Messiah really come? If He has where is He? Why doesn't He bring the triumph that dispels sadness?
The real problem today is that we are waiting for God to literally come to us. Sometimes I think we can celebrate His birth just like that of any one of us - offering prayers, eating, drinking and making merry. Our world does celebrate his coming but do we really welcome Him into our hearts and lives?
Yes, He has come into the world and is very much in our midst but sometimes we do not recognize Him.
By being born to poor parents, in an environment of extreme poverty, Jesus is telling us where He dwells - not in places of majesty and glamour but among the poor and the downtrodden, the sick and dying, the hungry, the oppressed and in those we love and even in those we hate. In short He is among those that are often seen only in quickly passing; the marginalized, the forgotten, the "unimportant".
Amidst our celebrations this Christmas, let us pause a while to look around us to recognize that Jesus who was born into the world two thousand years ago. He is among us in every person and in every trial and tribulation we encounter in our lives. Let us take a moment to look around to recognize Him in those who do not have joy and peace in their lives.
Let us do the little within our means to alleviate the pain and misery in their lives. Let us do whatever we can to give them the hope that triumph will one day wipe out the sadness in the hearts.
We too, like Jesus, must have the humility to come down from our positions of comfort and power to meet Him in the people around us. If we isolate ourselves from others by building a fortress around us with all our wealth and power together with greed, selfishness and pride, then we can keep waiting for Jesus all our lives but it will only be in vain.
When our eyes and hearts are opened to those around us, our Christmas will begin to take on a deeper meaning. It will not be just another day to celebrate, eat, drink and make merry. Instead, it will become the day when hope, peace, love and community truly begin to be born in us. On this day, we shall truly celebrate, we shall truly sing of the unimaginable love of the Incarnation of God and when that happens our hearts, our homes and our communities will be born again in the miracle of Christmas.
See you soon,
Music for the 4th Sunday of Advent