Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Today we celebrate Christmas and tomorrow the feast of the Holy Family. We have the great gift of Jesus Christ coming into the world and the gift and model His family is to us. We could reflect on this as being chronological, but I think there is something else here. Christmas is "the most wonderful time of the year" as the song goes. We praise God for the gift of Jesus Christ and we have spend many hours with family and friends celebrating, wrapping and giving gifts.
The season has such high expectations of joy while so many people mourn the loss of loved ones and others grieve the suffering they experienced within their families. I find it ironic that this joyous time is also one which surfaces so much personal pain for individuals. Maybe that really is a gift of Christmas--I know that sounds terrible. But maybe celebrating the gift of Christ is an opportunity for healing in our lives. Maybe it is a chance to have great compassion with those we know have lost loved ones and to be sensitive to those whose families have been a cross to them. Jesus came to heal us from all our sufferings and to save us from sin--the pain we cause one another through our sinfulness. Yes, Christmas is a great time to reach out in love to others!
Then there is the Holy Family piece. Yes, it would have been nice to have had Blessed Mother and St. Joseph for our parents! Yet, only Jesus got that blessing. On the cross Jesus told John "Behold your mother." The love of the Holy Family is not limited to their immediate family, but offered to each of us. As Church, we are called to be family to one another in love and compassion to bring Christ's healing and forgiveness--to follow the model of the Holy Family. We often forget the sufferings they endured and glamorize the life of Jesus' family.
So, while we spend time having fun this holiday season, let us keep our hearts open and attentive to those in God's family (and probably our own) who are in need of healing and forgiveness--including ourselves.
FYI the painting above is by Sr. Lucialam Nguyen, a Daughter of Charity on mission in CA.

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