Christmas is upon us. The days of Advent leading to this great feast have been special times to step back and meditate on the birth of our Savior Jesus. We consider what His life, death and resurrection mean for us personally.
Sixty years ago, our Holy Father was Saint John XXIII. He was a very lovable person and captured the hearts of so many faithful from all circumstances of life. Today, we are accustomed to Popes making journeys throughout the world, but in those days any trip outside the walls of the Vatican was extraordinary.
I recall one Christmas when Saint John XXIII visited a nearby prison called Regina Coeli. He preached beautifully to the inmates. After the Mass, one of the prisoners asked him a question: “Holy Father I am a delinquent. Is there also hope for me?”
Sometimes we quickly pass over the deep conviction of our faith that Jesus was born not for a few, but for all of us — for each and every one of us. Whatever your circumstances this Christmas, recall that the birth of our Savior and the hope He brings is meant for you.
Hope is like a star shining in darkness and shedding light on a path of hope. It was the star of the first Christmas that shone over the manger. That same star lit the sky for the shepherds and marked the path for the three magi from the East, drawing them to the crib. These visitors must have sensed the hope that called to them and so reverently and with great anticipation, they approached the Lord Jesus, a babe who would grow to become their savior.
Some resisted the light of Christ. In the Gospel account of the first Christmas, Herod was blinded by self importance and filled with jealousy. He feared anyone who might take the spotlight from him, and he turned his back on that offer of hope.
In every age during this time, the world pauses from a hectic life to approach that silent night in which the Savior comes. In every age, people like that prisoner in Regina Coeli approach us with the wounds and scars of a difficult life – a life full of disappointments and hardships and even of sins and failures – looking for some glimmer of hope.
In this age, we most especially need the voice of the Word made flesh, our savior Jesus. He has described himself to His followers in the Gospel according to Saint John as the way, the truth and the life.
During this time, we find people tempted to seek power rather than truth. We are tempted to shout down rather than listen to those who might oppose us. In this time, we need a savior who brings hope.
Jesus is the Word made flesh. He is the light of truth shining within our church, families and hearts. We receive him with great humility.
Jesus is the life of love, bringing compassion and understanding to each of us who yearns not to be forgotten.
Jesus is the life of hope made flesh. His message is meant for you and for me.
May all of you have a blessed Christmas season!