The thought of Christmas reawakens one’s consciousness and faith towards God who has loved his people unconditionally by sending his only begotten Son to redeem the whole of humanity. This God, who is seemingly silent and even unknown to many, has certainly walked with his people like an eagle jealous in watching over his little ones. The weeks of preparation done with a seriousness of intention and motivated with a determined will for interior renewal will have led us to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ with much meaning and joy.
Every year, we celebrate Christmas and go through the four-week preparation as prescribed in the liturgical cycle. We also make our personal and communitarian initiatives for this particular liturgical season with the intention of being renewed. During these weeks, the Church has provided us special biblical readings to facilitate our preparation to be able to welcome our Lord with eagerness and to allow his light to penetrate and renew our whole being. But in spite of all these yearly initiatives and activities, are we able to concretely identify a new experience of the Spirit in our lives, a new encounter with the Emmanuel who gave his whole life unto the Cross?
Every time we celebrate Christmas, it is very important to consider and become aware of why we are celebrating it for we might be solely taken and be subtly swayed by our emotion and sentiment, instead of going deeper to the real meaning and main reason for this particular celebration. The appeal of the materialistic world is so strong that we need to shield ourselves with the love of the Lord and with a life rooted in Christ. This hypothesis might be absurd but, considering our human limitations, this might happen without our knowing. We have to be prudent and reflective before the world’s promise of comforts that seemingly assures happiness but in reality only leads us to frustration and disillusionment because its foundation is fragile and weak.
Christmas reminds us of our true identity as children of God, baptized in the name of the Trinity. It proclaims the surest way of happiness – the way of the Emmanuel who is destined to pass through the paschal mystery which is also the obligatory passage of every Christian believer. Only in this way can we obtain the real happiness promised to us by our Saviour and Lord. However, no fear should overcome us as we continue our earthly journey because he himself has assured us: he is the WAY; he will guide and lighten our steps; he is the TRUTH; he will nourish us with the food that will last forever; he is the LIFE.
As we look around the streets, the houses and the malls lit with Christmas lights we cannot deny the beauty of the blending of the colours that harmoniously move to create various forms and designs. Watching this array of lights and colours, one can be drawn into deeper thought and reflection. If these artificial lights make us feel relaxed, feel at ease with ourselves and somehow provide an interior delight, how much more is the impact and the significance of the true LIGHT, who is Jesus, our Lord? Blessed Pope John Paul II on the eve of the Solemnity of the Birth of our Lord on 24 December 2001 said, “Christmas is an event of Light, it is the feast of light: in the Child of Bethlehem the primordial light once more shines in humanity’s heaven and dissipates the clouds of sin. The radiance of God’s definitive triumph appears on the horizon of history in order to offer a new future of hope to a pilgrim people.”
We continue our pilgrimage, notwithstanding the many challenges that come along our way. Yes, we cannot just close our eyes on the world’s real situations which continuously bombard our ears and threaten and shake our human and spiritual comfort zone. We cannot also remain tranquil and unaffected by the scourge of our present global situations and the turmoil of our country where the majority, the poor, the vast abandoned harvest, is always the victim. Precisely, this is the challenge of Christmas, a challenge to our faith, hope and love.
We all knew that the birth of the Son of God, who is Prince of Peace, Wonder Counsellor, God-Hero, upturned his contemporaries – especially those who wanted to show their greatness and power. We might not belong to this category of people but it is good for us to be shaken as we contemplate the birth of the Babe in Bethlehem who proclaims love, forgiveness, mercy, justice, unity, communion, etc. The scene of the little Child in the manger has to move and prick our conscience and bend our will to realign our life from the crooked egotistic attitude and from the spirit of indifference that damages our relationships and alienates ourselves from God and our neighbours. Selfishness prevents us from seeing the urgent needs of our time; it creates a numbness of heart; and it closes our ears from hearing the cry and sighs of our brothers and sisters who are victims of injustices, violence, natural and manmade disasters.
Despite these, let us not lose hope in God who came to dwell among us. His light will continue to shine beyond the darkness of sins and will offer us a new dawn of grace, joy and peace. His reign of peace will triumph and his love will transform many and his goodness will generate goodness and generosity from many hearts. Together, let us celebrate this great day of Jesus’ birthday with humility and total disposition of Mary and with the faith and righteousness of Joseph.
Mother M Elna Casimsiman fdz