The great Helen Keller wrote: “Christmas is the harvest time of love. Souls are drawn to other souls. All that we have read and thought and hoped comes to fruition at this happy time. Our spirits are astir. We feel within us a strong desire to serve. A strange, subtle force, a new kindness animates man and child. A new spirit is growing in us. No longer are we content to relieve pain, to sweeten sorrow, to give the crust of charity. We dare to give friendship, service, the equal loaf of bread and love.”

How aware are we about this “new spirit” growing in us? What are we doing to nur-

ture its growth? Where are we in our prepa- ration to give and receive the gifts that

Christmas brings – love, peace, joy, hope, power and purpose? The measure in which we experience these in us is the measure of Christ in us.

A story is told about a dad who was trying to teach his six year-old son how to shoot a

basketball. They were out in the backyard. The father shot a couple of times, saying, “Do it just like that, son; it’s real easy.” The lit- tle boy tried very hard but he couldn’t get the ball ten feet into the air. The little fellow got more and more frustrated. Finally, after hearing his father talk about how easy it was for the tenth time, the boy said, “It’s easy for you up there. You don’t know how hard it is from down here.”

We can’t tell that to our God. He has come down to us – to live like us, to feel like us, to go through the joys and pains just like us … If I can let this realization flood my whole be- ing, take possession of all my senses, excite me, thrill me; then I will have made the criti- cal choice of permitting God to come to me.

– Fr. Abe