Christmas 2010

December 23, 2010 at 13:07 1 comment

This Christmas yet again, the world is in a dangerous state of turmoil. Internationally, we are still fighting in Afghanistan and maintaining peace in Iraq, and not quite sure what to do about North Korea, Iran, or the areas of political instability in Africa. Whatever happens in these places will affect our brothers and sisters in uniform and their families. In our own country there are challenges with the economy and the jobless rate, as well as cultural shifts affecting all of us in various ways. In our own Church there is increasing unrest as different ways of thinking are perceived as threats and dealt with as enemies, and a perception of the increasing irrelevance of a Church Leadership whose goal seems to be protecting itself and its prerogatives, that hurls penalties rather than engage in honest and respectful dialogue, that deals with new ideas by forbidding free and open discussion, that seems to be increasingly removed from the realities of life as lived by the good people they are supposed to lead, and that blurs the distinction between teaching and commanding.

All this happening yet again at Christmastime points out the tremendous difference between what we celebrate and the setting in which we celebrate. Yet the Story invites us to hear it again in trust and hope. It  seems that, as we try to know more about ourselves and the world and creation we live in, we might also come to know more about God, and even approach coming to realize how intimate God is with us and, if we consent to it, how intimate we are with God.

We recall the Christmas Story with varying degrees of fondness, based on our own stories. Even in the midst of the usual commercialization of this time of the year we yearn for peace, for family, for life as it once was, for safety. The Story suggests that God yearns for the same. It shows us that God would bring us together, while we are keeping us apart. The more we study our universe, our planet, our countries, ourselves, the more we realize we are more alike than different. Perhaps we sense that we have lost our grounding, and our search for peace at Christmas reminds us where our grounding truly is. Known by many names, worshipped or ignored in many traditions, God is the Source of all that is, and of each and all of us. Without any name or the baggage that goes with how we name God, the Source of all is for our good. We take our awareness of this Source, appropriate it in a ways that make us feel comfortable and safe, and try to impose in on all others. Each of us does this in our own way, as do our institutions, both secular and religious.

The people in the Story in their own way follow the light given them. Mary hears the word of God from Gabriel, Joseph hears the word of God in a dream, and both make the difficult and uncertain journey to Bethlehem. The shepherds hear the word of God from the angels and journey to the stable. The Magi followed the word of God in the star, and journeyed to find the newborn Jesus. The Story invites each of us in our own way to be open to God’s word however it comes to us and to journey wherever it takes us. We cannot expect to be welcomed or appreciated or even safe as we do what we think is right. The Story urges each of us to look for Christ in our own life, our own circumstances, our own story, for this is where we discover he is already here with us. And as we find him in our story, we move on to discover him in the stories of others. Wherever we are is the only place we can be, and it is here that God again reaches out to us, showing us that what we yearn for can be, and each of us has an important and necessary role. The Story reminds us that Jesus still is reaching out to us, inviting us to let him be in our life, to let him love and lead us to find him in ourselves and in each other.  There is no need to be afraid of any one, any thing, or any idea. In the midst of our commotion there is peace coming in us in unexpected ways. As we discover it in ourselves, we begin to share it with others. And the Story of what happened then becomes the Story of what is happening now.



Entry filed under: Catholic, Gospel thoughts, Priest.

Gospel Thoughts 19 December 2010 Gospel Thoughts 2 January 2011, Epiphany

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Michele Ritz  |  December 26, 2010 at 01:31

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!!! I need your address. Please respond! I want to hear from you!


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