As I was driving to my parent’s house today, I tuned into Catholic radio. A priest was talking about Christmas. He said, “No one can take Christmas from you, no one can steal Christmas from you, because Christmas happened 2,000 years ago.” He was relating this to the Grinch, but he continued with the beautiful scripture story of Christ’s birth: Joseph and Mary at a manger, dark and poor, and Christ our Savior, the light bringing forth the gift of salvation to all.
Father was urging his listeners not to be filled with the anxiety and constant worry that many experience during this time of the year. Instead, he said to focus on the true meaning of Christmas and to make room in your heart for the Christ Child. The Angel said to Mary, “…you shall name him Jesus,” meaning, God saves.
This is a message of hope!
When my husband Tom and I lead pilgrimages to the Holy Land, we venerate the birthplace of Jesus: a grotto where animals were kept at that time, in Bethlehem, Palestine. We kneel and kiss the “star” marking the birthplace of Jesus. Today, a large basilica has been built around the grotto, but the small stone cave remains the simple, small, poor place was where the Savior, the Son of God was born!
When Tom and I stood there for the first time, we thought of God’s immense love for us – to be born in darkness, in poverty, in simplicity, to show us that He is present to everyone wherever and whoever they are. Christ Jesus is the light, who came into darkness to give us new life and hope!
I would like to share with you this Christmas Prayer written by John Paul II:
I ask the Lord, tiny and defense-less as he appears before us in the crib, to inspire in every heart tenderness and compassion:
Wipe away, Baby Jesus, the tears of children!
Embrace the sick and the elderly!
Move men to lay down their arms and to draw close in a universal embrace of peace!
Invite the peoples, O merciful Jesus, to tear down the walls created
by poverty and unemployment, by ignorance and indifference,
by discrimination and intolerance.
It is you, O Divine Child of Bethlehem, who save us, freeing us from sin.
It is you who are the true and only Savior, whom humanity often searches for with uncertainty.
Be our peace and our joy!
Come Lord Jesus!
May you experience a blessed and joy-filled Christmas Season, and Blessed New Year!