As you know too well from experience, Advent and especially the few days preceding Christmas seem to be lived by many of us as a time of racing to meet deadlines, a time of crazy shopping, buying things that have perhaps not much to do with the only Christmas Present we received from God; Jesus, our Saviour.
It is very wise for parents to gather their children around the crib at home and reflect on the meaning of Christmas with them using questions such as:
How did the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Joseph prepare themselves for their first Christmas? Were they thinking about an exciting shopping list?
When they arrived in Bethlehem with nowhere for them to stay and nobody to welcome them, how did Mary live through that trial?
It was indeed in great poverty that Jesus, Son of God, the “Word made flesh”, was born on our earth. Mary and Joseph were the first Christian married couple homeless and wandering! Yet, they lived the true Christmas joy, the joy of knowing that in spite of all their hardships, the presence of God was given to them. For us, when trials are sometimes unbearable, we have the certainty that our Father loves us infinitely. He reveals it by giving us His Son, especially in his Eucharistic Presence.
Thus, the mystery of Christmas can be summed up in the verse from St John’s Gospel: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that those who believe in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting” (John 3,16)
God has always been present among human beings, but about 2000 years ago, He incarnated in a chosen woman, prepared by Him to be Immaculate since her conception, in order to be that Holy Tabernacle of the presence of God in the flesh.
Finally, here are three suggestions to prepare for Christmas:
- A car wash is useful but a “soul wash” from our sins by receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation is so much more important!
- Every morning read the Gospel of the day.
- Schedule a daily time to pay a visit to Jesus at the tabernacle where he waits for us.