The most awaited celebration of the year is here. The birthday of Jesus is indeed a joyful celebration like any other birthday. Christmas is here! The spirit of Christmas outshines any other darkness that we have experienced in our lives. Jesus is the reason why we celebrate Christmas. The child Jesus, the Emmanuel, is always with us.
This Christmas is different from past years’ celebrations. At present we are experiencing the life-threatening COVID-19 pandemic where, up until now, every nation has been battling for their health protection and for the virus to stop harming lives. No one is safe, no one is excluded and there is great fear in our hearts.
What will this Christmas be like in the midst of this ongoing pandemic? There is uncertainty about our lives and the way we live. For those families who have lost their loved ones, this would be the time they would have planned to be together as family and friends but they are gone. Sometimes there are on and off again periods of lockdown when there are increasing cases. In Australia, even though there may be smaller numbers of people who are infected compared to other countries, still the situation is scaring us about contracting the virus. What about those nations who have so cases and deaths increasing daily? Outside of this health crisis, consider too, for a moment, those countries affected by natural calamities such as hurricanes and other disasters where families and individuals have lost their lives and homes? What would Christmas be like for the ‘front liners’ who continue to offer their lives to serve people and protect us all? They are today’s heroes. They are tired also. We must keep them in our prayers. For our part we must do what we can to keep safe and comply with the health restrictions that are in place to help us to not spread the virus to others and to not get it ourselves.
Let us be reminded that there is always a reason to celebrate the spirit of Christmas because God is with us. He is the Emmanuel and He is here for us. He is the source of our life, the One who gives us life, the One who loves us dearly till the end. No matter what happens in our lives, remember that God will always be with us. He is there from the beginning and He will still be with us until the end of our life. He makes sense of our joys because He loves us. He is the hope of all that we are hoping for and He strengthens our weakened faith because He give us His grace everyday. So what kind of life would we have if God was out of our life? We bend our knees to keep on praying – for us and for others every day.
Let us now look more closely at the life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. They, too, experienced a lot of challenges in their lives. From the day since Jesus was in the womb of his Mother until He was laid in His tomb (albeit for a time until His resurrection and ascension into Heaven). The joys, successes, pains, sorrows and difficulties are written into their lives. All the challenges they had were overcome because of love. Love conquers everything. Christ’s love for us led to His suffering for us. Let the suffering we may have in our own hearts be an offering to God. It will help us to gain the wisdom to love Him more and more each day.
Let us celebrate Christmas every day, not only just at Christmas time in the month of December. Christmas is the Christ, the ‘Emmanuel: God is with us’. We may be discouraged about many things. Whatever hardships we experience in any aspect of our lives – in our family, relationships, economic struggles, work demands, or the difficulty of finding a stable job, health problems, spiritual struggles – we acknowledge these challenges in our life. However, we must never give up and we must never stay away from Him. He is the source of our life and strength. Let us continue to hold on to the little faith we have and to anchor our life to Him, no matter what happens. All will be well in God’s Hands. We will overcome everything in His time and with His grace. He is the Emmanuel, the God with us.
Like any other child, this child Jesus is born for us and gives us joy in our hearts. Through His simple presence we feel peace within us. Let Christ be born in our hearts. Make room for Him in the centre of our being. He is the light that outshines whatever darkness we experience. Let us take up the challenge to be a bearer of Christ’s love.
Merry Christmas and a prosperous new year in 2021.*
O child Jesus, the Emmanuel
The God is with us.
You are the source of joy in every heart.
You are present and here with us because you love us.
Your love conquers everything we face in life.
It gives us strength and the reason to live.
Lord Jesus, continue to mould our hearts like yours.
Let our love for you grow more and more each day.
*Visit our Facebook page for our community photos for Christmas 2020.