Christmas is a special time when we come together and celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Jesus is the gift God wants us to have. It’s the miracle of God giving himself to us; in a sense, inviting us to hold him in our hands and to discover the joy that living with him brings.
The joy of Christmas and the gift of Emmanuel – God with us – gives us the confidence to face the future with hope. This hope is born of our faith in the Living God.
Christmas is, first and foremost, about Love, God’s Love. God loves us so much that He gave us the most precious gift, Jesus, His own Son. That’s the heart of Christmas.
This great and wonderful love calls us to love one another. We share love in and through our human relationships; love is a commitment and a decision to stick by others, come what may, through thick and thin, when the going is easy and when the going gets more challenging. The love that we share in our human relationships is a reflection of the love of God, calling us to give of ourselves for others.
Jesus left us an example to follow. So we need to always be learning from his life in the Gospels. From the crib of Bethlehem to the cross of Calvary, he gave his life completely as a gift of love. That is how we should live. By loving others as Jesus has loved us. We are all brothers and sisters, members of one family. “What you do to one of these little ones, you do it to me.” What we do to each other, good or bad, we do it to God.
At Christmas, we remember that Jesus was born in poverty, in a stable among the poorest people and the farm animals. What does this mean for us today? We are called to look for the face of Christ in the poor, those at our own door and in places far from here. Love can look like a cup of coffee offered, a hand held, a smile shared, and a story heard. In the end, we will be judged by how we care for the poor. Let us welcome him with joy and generosity, giving space in our lives to the others: refugees, migrants, poor, sick, and weak, lonely, abandoned those at the margins of society.
Christmas is also about repentance and forgiveness. Love takes commitment and work, and sometimes we don’t get it right. We’re not perfect. But with God there is mercy and forgiveness, and second chances. And so must we offer those gifts to others. Christmas is a time of renewal, of fresh starts and coming together. Because our time is so precious, it is a beautiful gift. So let us try to be more generous with our time and more ‘present’ to others; less distracted. Let’s try to turn off our phones and computers more often so we can really pay attention to the people we love.
Christmas is not a day or a season; it is a lifetime of growth in holiness by generous giving of oneself to the others, by making a difference in the world.
May this Christmas celebration bring us peace and joy in our hearts and homes. And may God’s blessing be with us through thick and thin in the coming year 2019.