December 25, 2014

When Jesus was born, the heavenly host burst out in praise of God. “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Lk 2:14).

It has been 2,000 years, and peace still eludes us all. The war against the unborn still rages, as the Herods of the world continue the massacre of the innocents (Mt 2:16). Poverty continues to be widespread and deepens, with babies born in mangers (or worse) and families having no room in the inn (Lk 2:7). Whole families need to flee their homes and nations in order not to be killed (Mt 2:13), as the Christian presence is being decimated in Iraq. Christians are being oppressed and persecuted in the Middle East, in India, in China, and even in the United States.

At the birth of Jesus, the shepherds, the magi and the angels all rejoiced. People today too rejoice during the Advent season, but mostly for the wrong reasons. There are parties, shopping and vacation to be enjoyed. There are gifts to be received. There is lots of food to be consumed. It is time to be filled with the spirit …. of the bottle. The darkness of the night is lit up, not by the star, but by fireworks. Heaven bursts out in loud praise, but on earth the sky resounds with revelry and carousing.

Rather than much reflection on the meaning of the season, savoring the coming of the Savior, there is much deflection, as our thoughts and actions savor secular and humanist pursuits.

No wonder then that we end up Christmas (and New Year) with a headache, a tummy ache, and a continuing heartache. The body has been filled, but the heart continues to be unfilled, unfulfilled. Only Christ can fill our hearts. Only Christ can fulfill the deepest longings of our hearts.

That is why Jesus came. We did not miss out on the celebration of his coming, but did we miss out on why he came, the reason for the season? It is not too late. Take some time, nay, a lot of time, to really celebrate Christmas. Look at the babe in the manger. Here is Jesus, your God, your Savior and your King.

Then we would be really giving glory to God. And just perhaps, peace can come into our hearts, and through our life and work, peace can also finally come into the world.

Have a joyful, blessed and Spirit-filled Christmas.

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