While commercialism can act like a smoke-screen, distracting from the real meaning of Christmas, it is important that we push through to take hold of the true wonder of Jesus’ birth. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). Jesus SO LOVED us he became human like you and me, willing to persevere through all that unfolded, that we might be reunited with God in this world and the next.
So often we can get trapped into believing one or all of the 3 lies: “I am what I do”; “I am what people say I am” and/or “I am what I have”, that Henri Nouwen speaks about in his ‘Beloved’ talk series. But God says otherwise. When we are not able to ‘do’ anything, when people say unkind things about us, when what we have is taken away, we need to know that we are deeply loved. Our identity rests in the knowledge that I am a loved child of God. God invites us to be his sons and daughters, to share in that relationship that He had with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
And to top that off, God’s love is not dependent on our actions, our faithfulness or our godliness. He generously offers it freely and unconditionally; it cannot be earned (Eph 2:8). We will see that over this holiday season as we spend time with friends and family who maybe have decided not to respond to God’s invitation. We might see that they are still good people and still love deeply. All love and goodness comes from God (1 Jn 4:7) and while some may not acknowledge the source, God’s love oozes all over the place and He is not selective in whom he lavishes it upon. Such is the generosity of our God. Take time to marvel at God’s generosity and soak in it this Christmas time. Invite family and friends to Mass with you where they might engage with the source of their goodness. Note when your heart fills with love this Christmas season and thank God for being in your midst.
Parish Pastoral Worker