This weekend we have two feasts back-to-back: Saturday we celebrate Christmas, the birth of our Savior, and Sunday we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family. The two feasts complement each other very well.
At Christmas, we celebrate that Jesus Christ came and “made His dwelling among us.” The literal translation is that he “pitched His tent among us.” It was dangerous to be out in the desert alone. As a result, the people would pitch their tents together, so that they could protect one another. In other words, Jesus threw His lot in with us.
But to do that, to become a human being and pitch His tent among us, He needed the assistance of Mary and Joseph. Mary needed to say, “be it done unto me according to your word.” Joseph had to be open to God’s plan and cooperate by taking Mary and the child Jesus into his home, protecting them so that Jesus could “advance in wisdom and age and favor before God and people.” It was in the context of the Holy Family that Jesus grew and developed, until His hour came to begin His mission.
Christ wants to bring His goodness and mercy into our world today. But, as He needed the cooperation of Mary and Joseph when He first came, He needs our cooperation today. When I can be forgiving and compassionate to someone who hurts me, the light of Christ shines brighter in our world. When I can take time to visit someone who is homebound and lonely, the light of Christ shines brighter for that person and in the world. When I can share the many blessings that God has given me to help those less fortunate, the light of Christ burns brightly. And so on and so on.
As we celebrate Christmas, I invite us to consciously recommit ourselves to bringing the light of Christ into the world by our words and actions. Then we will be making Christmas happen here and now, instead of simply remembering something that happened a long time ago.
Instead of a church sign, I end with a poem that Marcelina Agbius composed and shared with me in her Christmas card:
How special the moment
that comes our way.
The “now” that we have
that God gave away.
It’ll not linger for very long.
So, dare not waste it.
Breathe in and share its wonder,
every last bit.
Life is a miracle,
we unwrap each day.
The gift that keeps giving
in every possible way.
May each of you have a blessed Christmas. Buon Natale!