I wish you and your loved ones a most blessed Christmas feast. And I hope that through all of this holy season, our hearts will be open to a deeper understanding of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ.
Throughout these holy days, we celebrate the mystery of Emmanuel, God-with-us. And, we try to understand just a little bit more what our mothers and fathers in faith have celebrated through the centuries: that God chose to become like us so that we could become like God.
That reality places before us a double-edged invitation to prayer and contemplation through these days of Christmas.
On the one hand is the invitation to gaze at and speak from the heart to our God who is a God of both sovereign majesty and tender compassion. This is the God who, Scripture tells us, made the heavens and the earth, and yet who is available in comforting friendship to the little ones, the poor, the vulnerable and the dispossessed.
I hope that you will find some time to savor such friendship with the Lord. That doesn’t require any great plan or special preparation. It just means that we stand before this God-with-us in our own poverty and vulnerability, giving praise and offering thanks for the gifts of faith and life we have been given. It’s also altogether fair to place before the Lord our needs and those of the whole human family.
The second part of the invitation calls us to a peaceful and renewed appreciation of our own humanity. It is in and through our humanity that we become aware of the mystery of Christ’s love for us. It is through that same gift that we live, celebrate and share it. As we move through the years of our lives, the ways in which we grow in and share in the mystery of Christ’s love change. So it’s good for us from time to time to attend to the new ways in which the Lord may be trying to get our attention: Through loss? Or the gift of new life? In challenging relationships?
It also is beneficial to ask if the Lord is calling us to share our gifts in ways we have not yet tried, or to set off in directions we have not yet explored. For example, it’s not uncommon to hear people say, “I’ve always wanted to try this or that but just could never find the time.” This could be the presence of the Lord’s grace prompting us to be alert for the time in our lives when we might move in the direction that has attracted us for so long.
I can’t think of a more inviting time than the Christmas season in which to rest in and draw life from the friendship we enjoy with Christ, or to think and pray about the ways in which the Lord may be calling us to share those good gifts with others.
Whether you move in the direction I suggest here or not, I do hope that you will find some time for prayer in these holy days. And, I hope that there will be a place in that prayer for all of us who will be praying with you. Merry Christmas.
Peace to all.