Christmas greetings from the Province Center.
It seems strange to say, but as strained as this year has been, it seems to have flown by. With COVID-19, a hotly contested presidential election and division in so many arenas, we can tend to lose perspective of the things that really matter.
Christmas is not about trees, beautifully wrapped packages, mistletoe, nor reindeer. It is about the one event that changed the world forever. We, as Jesus’ followers, are called to take the love he lived and pass it on. We are called to be Christ for one another. In this darkest time of the year, we are called to be a light to the nations, and I think that the world needs this message more now than ever.
Christmas is a time of togetherness and joy. It is a time when we celebrate that God loves us so much that he sent his son to be with us, Emmanuel. We may stray from the path occasionally, but that essential truth holds firm, God loves us.
There are too many parallels in the Christmas story to today’s world to mention but imagine two homeless people on a long journey show up on your doorstep and ask for lodging for the night because the wife is about to give birth. What would you do? It is so easy for us to say no. But the easy answer is not always the right answer.
We can become so tied up with the events of today, that we forget that Christianity has existed for more than two millennia. We tend to judge everything by our own limited experience and the passing events of our time.
Each Christmas I try to imagine being in Bethlehem on that momentous night. I try to imagine the cries of that newborn child who was destined to be the savior of the world. With the benefit of hindsight, I know what this child was to eventually undergo. I am reminded that the innocence of this child was to be sacrificed on a cross. It was a sacrifice for you and for me.
Christmas reminds me that in this passing world, some things are eternal. God’s love for us is at the very core of that belief. We can act like wayward children from time to time, but like a loving parent, God still loves us. In fact, he loves us so much that he sent us his son to demonstrate that love.
Christmas always reminds me of family, not just the Holy Family, but of all our families. It reminds me of the words of a James Taylor song, “Shower the people you love with love, tell them the way that you feel.” We do not do that enough.
This year, as you safely gather, let the people you love know that they are loved. That love reflects the love which God has bestowed on the world since the beginning of time and made manifest through Jesus.
May you and your loved ones have a very blessed and prayerful Christmas. In St. Viator,
Rev. Daniel R. Hall, C.S.V.