“Every Christmas is different” shared a homilist this week. Each year we arrive at Christmas in the midst of an evolving but different set of realities. Our Christmas experience can be very different as the realities of our personal life impact how we experience what each Christmas promises; love, joy, hope and peace.
Christmas is difficult to celebrate alone. The season is festive. It is a time of get-togethers especially with loved ones, family members and close friends. It is an occasion for reunions. At parties we celebrate friendships and feel grateful for one another. In the hangover of the morning after, we reflect on love and perhaps on how far we have come in life this Christmas.
But Christmas can also be lonely. We could have arrived at Christmas having gone through a tough year. We could be facing the realities of unemployment or the challenges of ill health. It could also be that a loved one is no longer around. Christmas can also be very different if in reality our relationships with family or friends are estranged. When relationships are broken, we are isolated and disconnected from the spirit of Christmas.
But at every Christmas, in any corner of the world there will many joyful get-togethers among family and friends once estranged from each other. There will gratitude for a better life having overcome the many uncertainties. There will be people celebrating a re-discovery of their faith life and renewed relationship with God in communities where love freely flows. Christmas always open doors to reconciliation.
The spirit of Christmas is generous. We all can help make Christmas better.
The spirit of Christmas is always at work. These gatherings of joy are made possible because people acted on the call of reconciliation. Each of us are called to be a catalyst to mend estranged relationships, especially if we are part of it. The other party might just be waiting to embrace the offering of peace.
At Christmas we are called to be like Mary to change lives. Our ‘yes to be the handmaid of the Lord’ will change the lives of those around us and make a different and better Christmas for them and us. Christmas is the birth of the Child Jesus into the reality of our personal life. Changed lives are a fulfilment of the Christmas promise of love, joy, hope and peace.
Wishing you a holy and blessed Christmas!
4th Sunday of Advent