Micah 5: 1-4a; Hebrews 10: 5-10; Luke 1:39-45
With Christmas only two days away our minds are spinning with the various things which need to be done before Christmas: there are gifts to be wrapped; cards and packages to be mailed and food to be purchased for family feasts. With so much to do it seems like we end up feeling guilty and a recurring question: Are we losing the ‘real meaning of Christmas’ in all this activity? While guilt and Christmas are inextricably wrapped up for many people that need not be the case. As Christians, we certainly are called not to dive into consumerism and excess but is normal holiday busyness causing us to lose the ‘real meaning of Christmas’?
By ‘real meaning of Christmas’ many people understand days spent in quiet, pondering or sitting by a fireside enjoying the sights and sounds of the season. It is always good to reflect in silence on God’s presence and the wonders of the Incarnation as well as enjoying the blessings of ordinary life. But this is a very solitary and static view of the ‘real meaning of Christmas’. So where might we find the ‘real meaning of Christmas’? Perhaps if we look at today’s Gospel reading from Luke where we hear of a very pregnant Mary (try to imagine the public shame she endured as an ‘unwed mother’) who endured the inconvenience and dangers of travel in order to support Elizabeth in her time of need. Mary not only traveled geographically but journeyed out of her own concerns/worries and fears in order to bring Christ, still in Mary’s womb, to another. This is a perfect example of the ‘real meaning of Christmas’: bearing Christ in our words and actions during this time of year. Bearing Christ not just when we pray but when we set the table for dinner, are racing to send packages (tokens of love to friends and family) or driving off to family dinners. Christmas is about the wonders of God becoming an innocent vulnerable child out of inexhaustible love for humanity and for us this means bringing that love to everyone we encounter and to creation itself. A tall order but one that tells us not to feel guilty just for being busy (though, again, not to be overwhelmed by mindless consumerism!) but fill that busyness with love.
Mission Doctors minister to God’s poor throughout the world and do so with love. Help them put love into action by healing the sick through your prayer and contributions.
Happy Fourth Sunday of Advent!
Brother John Kielser