This Advent I had the great intention of writing a blog post every Sunday of Advent, unfortunately my life had other plans. I got busy with this and that, having a Christmas party, packing to come home for Christmas, cleaning my house and all sorts of things that just seemed to get in the way of the more important things. Jesus' coming in flesh, reflecting on the love of God, the yes of Mary (and the yes of Joseph). There are so many things that were more important than me and what I needed that seemed to escape me sometimes this Advent season.
In my past few posts, I wrote about transformation, transforming our lives radically to Christ (metanoia in the Greek). Advent for all of us should have been a time where we radically reoriented our lives to the birth of the Lord. Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, "dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father." (John 1:14) "Only if people change will the world change; and in order to change, people need the light the comes from God, the light which so unexpectedly [on the night of Christmas] entered into our night." Pope Benedict XVI
In my personal Advent reflections I looked at how my life has been impacted by the Incarnation. How has my life been affected by the Word becoming flesh? How has yours? Do we allow Christ, the final Word of the Father to take root in our lives? Do we allow this Truth to find its foundation in us? The world today does not recognize any foundation, and it is shown as we slip slowly into degradation. Truth is stated simply at the beginning of John's Gospel.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father." John 1:1,14
When Christ is removed from Christmas all we are left with is mas and that is meaningless. So are you making your Christmas meaningless by removing Christ, the Incarnate Truth from it.
So I would say for many of us and I include myself in this, we are sometimes a people lost drifting through life as if it was meaningless. Our lives need to be lived with passion for Christ and with the purpose of getting to Heaven. This Christmas is the time to wake up and realize that life has purpose and to live that purpose; Jesus said to him (says to us), "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me." John 14:6
Christmas is the time to find our purpose, our passion, our love in Christ, the Word made flesh. Then to live that purpose, passion and love in our everyday lives, following the example of Christ. (cf. The Beatitudes - Matthew 5:1-12) God is Love, and we are called to love:
"7 Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit.14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." 1 John 4:7-16
There is no greater love than God humbling Himself, emptying Himself and coming into the world as a baby, in a manger. "And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn." Luke 2:7
Is there room this Christmas season for Jesus to be in our hearts, our minds, our lives and those of friends and family. Do our actions, our words, our lives demonstrate that Jesus lives within us. The very Word of God received in the Eucharist. Christmas night and the birth of Our Lord is the school of faith and life where we can encounter Christ. Emmanuel, God-with-us.
"It is the task of us Christians, with witness of our life, to spread the truth of Christmas which Christ brings to every man and woman of good will. Born in the poverty of the manager, Jesus comes to offer to all that joy and that peace which alone can fulfill the expectation of the human soul." Pope Benedict XVI
This evening, I welcome you, Jesus, in the most unpretentious of forms: that of a baby. Truly I discover this evening that the greatest of gifts can come in the simplest of wrappings. How can I thank you for the gift of yourself, the Word of God having taken on human flesh as a baby in a manger? The best I can do is to give you my love...and that is what I present you with this evening.
Remember, Christmas is not just a day but a state of mind, a state of being in relation, a relation of love with the Word made flesh, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Invite Him into your heart today, welcome Him if you have drifted away. His Love is never-ending and He so desires to be with you, won't you say yes as Mary said yes? My prayers are with all of you and if you have said yes after being away for awhile or for the first time, Welcome Home.
O Holy Night - Kings College in Cambridge