We have just started Advent, a time chosen by the Holy Spirit during which the Church reminds us, each year, the lengthy divine preparation to the Mystery of the Incarnation.
Christmas time is coming. On a human scale, it is the year’s greatest feast: Stores are brightly decorated, houses are covered with multicolored ornamentations. People prepare fine meals to welcome family and friends. But such festivities, as legitimate as they may be, must not distract us from “the grace of receiving Christ within ourselves and in our homes”, an event that is marked by faith.
At the blessed moment in time when a sinful human race was in need of forgiveness and hope, Mary, the Immaculate Virgin, through the Holy Spirit’s ineffable message, gave birth to God’s very Son, “made man”, “embodied in time”, without ceasing to be the “Eternal and unique Word of the Father”. Thus having two natures, divine and human, indissolubly united in the “sole person of the Son of God”, without their mixing, with no confusion: The divine does not absorb the human, the human does not lessen the divine. Of one substance with the Father.
This child, lying in a manger, who looks like any other child but is both man and God, caused a great celebration here on earth and in Heaven. Divinely inspired shepherds came running to worship Him. A choir of Angels praised God singing: “Glory to God in the Highest and peace to men on earth.” A few wise men, astronomers, upon seeing a marvelous star, headed for the scene of the Nativity where they recognized the God-child and offered Him their homage and their offerings: gold, incense and myrrh.
This God-child, whose anniversary we celebrate, is not just someone out of the past or a souvenir, one who is content with watching what goes on upon earth without being seen. He is present in our hearts and everywhere we go.
It is true that today’s spiritual situation appears to be, for all kinds of reasons, an “exit of religion”. The place occupied by religion has changed: It has almost disappeared from politics, from science, from education, from morals, from the family, etc. In fact, for many people, religion has lost its meaning. In situations where the normal order of things is disturbed, why not have recourse to the Messiah’s Mother? Let us receive deeply, like She did, the gift God gave us of His all-loving and merciful Son. Is our world not in search of mercy? Let us make ourselves available to what He expects of us. Let us answer to His Love with all of our being.
The occasions exist to foster God’s Mercy around us: By helping the poor, by visiting those who are alone, by praying for the sick, by being open to others through welcoming them, through our generosity, through our help, through mutual respect, etc. Let us seek to find the meaning of our Christian identity: By thinking like Him, by acting like Him, let us allow Him to take possession of our lives through our great faith, the knowledge that the divine Persons have of one another, of one for the other. And why not communicate this deep faith as though it were a bright star by spreading God’s words.
The Spirit of Christmas is therefore God among us; He is with us. No doubt we would have liked to be in Bethlehem to greet Him as did Mary, the wise men and the shepherds. But He went beyond. He remains with us through the Eucharist: It is the same God who offers Himself to us, in an ongoing way, at the altar, in the Bread and Wine. Is this not the synthesis of the Incarnation and of the other mysteries that are related to it? Let us thank Him for such a great blessing by celebrating Christmas on every Sunday, a Christmas lived with love, with joy, with an unwavering faith that will lead us to our sharing in His divine and glorious life in Heaven.
May this 2016 Christmas be the most beautiful Christmas ever!
Father Roger Bouchard, STD