My dear Brothers and Sisters,
Christmas is almost here. I would like to share with you some thoughts about the feast we will celebrate in a few days.
Every year, I am still amazed at how the birth of a Child can bring so many feelings together: compas- sion, peace, hope and perhaps the most visible of all, joy.
At this time of the year, we experience the greatness for which the human soul is created: to share and to serve. This is the teaching of the Child Who is born for us; it is a lesson of a life of dedication to others. This Child, though He is God, also shares our humanity, our poverty and all of the sufferings of human beings.
The songs and carols, the announcements, indeed everything around us proclaims “Peace on Earth.” And while we are painfully aware that not all is at peace in us or in our world, we do long for – and are willing to work for – the peace that the Christ Child brings to us and to our world. Is this not God’s plan?
We who are believers know the painful tragedies of our world, and each day we recognize that no per- son, including none of us can live in complete peace with ourselves, with our brothers and sisters, with the world, and with God. But we hope that one day all of us – you and I – will be full of the grace of God, and we will live every single day of the year with the spirit of Christmas. The Child born of Mary can bring hope to us, so that we can be hopeful for a better self and a better world. Yes, He brings us more than hope alone, for He also gives believers the strength to work for peace and to gain what we work for.
If we follow these steps, we will be filled with joy, and the joy of Christmas will accompany us every day, a joy related to spiritual things, a joy given not from the things we buy or obtain for ourselves, but a joy born from giving and sharing. In words of C.S. Lewis, “The very nature of Joy makes nonsense of our common distinction between having and wanting.”
But most of all, the reason for joy is the presence of the Child Who inspires us. The reason for true joy is only One… Christ. There is no Christmas without Christ; in the same way there cannot be Christians without joy, and the world will not know the peace, hope and joy that Christ brings if we do not demonstrate these virtues in our daily lives. This Christmas, go forth and show Whom it is we love and in Whom we believe. Show the world His power, the power of the Child born in Bethlehem.
Christ is born, Merry Christmas!