Merry Christmas! Even when the usual celebrations of this happy season are marred by the pandemic, we all want to have some good feeling. I heard reports that there is a great shortage of Christmas Trees because, unlike other years, more people decided to buy trees to create a good feeling. We here at St. Matthias are blessed to have the initiative of “Spread the Light” with some 270 Christmas trees memorialized and lit for this whole season – thanks to Msgr. Curry. It is wonderful to see so many people walking by the trees to bask in the light in the darkness!
But the source of this good feeling is Baby Jesus who is the reason for the season! Unless we give due importance to Him over all other external signs of celebrations like the Christmas trees, Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus, the Grinch, elves, and a long list of celebrated fictional characters that the media and companies present to us, there can be no genuine and lasting good feeling. Hence let me suggest three easy ways to go to the source – Jesus Christ – to experience lasting good feeling:
- Take seriously the good news announced by the Angels: “Fear not, for behold, I announce to you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all the people” (Luke 2:10). We all know how fear can cripple us and take away our joy and peace. With all our intellect and innovations, we have not made our world safe and secure for ourselves and for our children. But we can destroy this fear and live joyfully if only we can take the message of Christmas seriously by believing in the Prince of Peace.
- Give Baby Jesus one very special gift. Let this gift be something personal so that you don’t need to reveal it to anyone. What gift will please Jesus? Maybe the gift to forgive someone you’ve wanted to for a long time. If you do that, you will have the happy surprise of finding out that you were the one who really got the gift, because as Lewis B. Smedes wrote in his book, Forgive and Forget, “When you release the wrongdoer from the wrong, you cut a malignant tumor out of your inner life. You set a prisoner free, but you discover that the real prisoner was yourself.”
- Read the Christmas story with your family this week, as I had suggested two weeks ago. Matthew and Luke are the Evangelists who we can depend on for the birth and infancy narratives of Jesus. The first two chapters from each of these gospels are ideal for this purpose. Read at least one chapter each day starting from today.
May your Christmas be filled with the wonder of “Emmanuel” (Mt.1:23: God-with-us). May His peace and joy illumine your hearts and your homes.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal