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One of the common sayings we hear so often in the month of December is “Jesus is the reason for the Season.” Indeed the name “Christmas” derives from Christ — not Jesus’ last name — but actually a title meaning “God’s anointed.” In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the revelation of Jesus’ origin and the testimony of faith spoken about Jesus by different figures in the Gospels, including St. Peter and even demons possessing a man, refer to Jesus as “the Christ.”
Our belief as Christians is that God sent his only Son to dwell among us to invite us into a deeper relationship with the God he called “Abba,” meaning “father” or, more accurately, “daddy.” His life, centered in and drawing strength from this familial relationship, enabled him to grow into his divine identity, making mistakes along the way, enduring discrimination and rejection along the way, yet ultimately recognizing that his spirit, connected to the Author of Life, would never be able to kill His Spirit, freeing him to humbly and generously offer his life for everyone.
Therefore, the real meaning and invitation of Christmas are that we recognize the sacred bonds we have with those we call family, whether by blood or by attraction to mutual accompaniment and support through life. Yes, Christmas is a time for family and friends, but especially for care for the poor, for those who have lost children, those unable to have children, and those in relationships that are not life-giving and, even worse, physically, mentally, and sexually abusive.
Reason for Christmas
The reason for the season is to remind us of how precious life is and how precious life-giving relationships are or should be. Christianity is the only major faith tradition in which the very essence of God is a life-giving relationship: Father, Son, and their Holy Spirit. The word Christmas consists of two words: “Christ” and “Mass.” “Christ” means God’s anointed. “Mass” comes from the Latin phrase “ite missa est,” meaning “to be sent.” So Christmas is a celebration of God the Father sending His only begotten Son to dwell among us — to be born in the midst of poverty to tell us that God seeks to enter into the depths of our physical, emotional, and spiritual poverty. That God is born into an irregular family: a woman pregnant out of marriage, an adoptive father, and a culture beset by the misery of oppression. But it is not just celebrating God sending His Son, but an invitation for us to be sent by God into the world to share the Good News of God’s presence within us and among us, to share the fullness of our gifts and talents with those in need.
Is there a hosanna in your heart,
A song your spirit’s longing to sing,
A melody proclaiming your deep joy
In the coming of Christ our King?
Like blessed Mary, is there room to welcome
A messenger of God with a special request,
To hear Love’s voice inviting you to partake
In ways that, thru you, others be blessed?
Is there a place free of life’s distractions
An abode receptive for God’s grace to fill,
That your spirit might humbly, joyfully cry out
“May it be done according to Your will!”?
Like humble Joseph, is there room to bend
Human rules to meet Love’s demands
To allow life’s fears to shrink away
Embracing your role in God’s gracious plan?
Will you make room in the inn of your soul
For a God longing for Spirit and soul to unite
In the midst of all your faults and your failings
Thru you, to the world, bearing Christ’s Light?
Will you welcome angels appearing in the darkest times
Calling you to revisit the Child-like within
To feed from His love, from His blessed assurance,
To be refreshed and renewed to face life again?
Will you follow your dream, God’s dream for you,
With wisdom follow signs that God will provide?
Will you hazard the journey, let nothing, no one deter
‘Til you reach the abode where dream’s Source resides?
Will you humbly approach with awe and with longing?
Will you gaze in wonder at the Child in the crèche?
Humbly offering your life, swaddled in faithfulness
To bring warmth and joy to the Word made flesh?
Will you open yourself to the awe and the wonder,
To the love, to the peace, only Divine love can impart?
May this season renew your hope in God’s promise,
May the joy of God with us ever flow from your heart!
Blessed Christmas Season and Happy New Year!
By Fr. Larry Dowling