What we celebrate on this day of the Nativity of the Lord, is so incredible, it is hard to grasp what has happened. What God has done is almost incomprehensible – the mystery so big and so deep that at times its meaning and significance is lost on us.
We see Christmas trees and decorative lights, we see presents, we hear the familiar carols, and we see Santa everywhere. We make room for the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future and we imagine outdoing the generosity of the redeemed Scrooge. We relish memories of childhoods past and wonder how Santa got into everyone’s house on the same night.
We even bring this frenzy into our churches. Each year we make pilgrimages to our parishes for parties, to assemble Christmas food baskets and to help with other charities. The trees, the lights, the gifts, the parties, the television specials and our Masses – each have their role – the Mass definitely more important than the others – but each helps us fathom that what has happened is so incredible that it is almost beyond our ability to comprehend. Yet, God has entered our lives.
What does Christmas do? What does it mean, “God is with us?” Eventually we have to move past the exciting images and memories and return to Bethlehem. Here are images are very different. Here we see only a weary couple far from home, a husband and wife struggling to find comfort as they share the joy of a new child, a joy shared only by a few shepherds huddled together with their flocks near the manger.
We need to seek the warm silence of Christmas Eve. We need the silence that descends upon a home after the kids are in bed and after Santa has come. We want that tired and still moment of a mother and father sitting together before the tree, lost together in silent thoughts of their children. In this comfortable, cozy silence we understand that couple at the manger. We see what Christmas does.
The silence of Christmas not only tells us of love, it lets us be in love. Our God has entered this world to whisper to us that He loves us, and in the same silence, we realize how much we love Him. The dream that is given to us is that in the silence we have come to know that we can love each other.
We cannot contain our joy so we celebrate in many ways, but we still rush to our “Silent Night” hoping that it will never end, longing for the day that the gift of God’s powerful, unexplainable love is shared among us all.
A very blessed and wonderful Christmas to all!
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