Christians begin celebrating the feast of Christmas today. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays rings throughout homes, in cars, on radios, in shopping malls, through halls and walls of buildings and businesses, on computer and cell phone screens. Merry Christmas reigns in streets where kids die, and where poverty, abandonment and abuse deepens. For practicing Christians, Christmas is a time to engage the significance of the incarnation, the birth of Jesus Christ in everyday life.
The invitation for us to ponder at Christmas could begin as simple as this,
How might love want to birth within me?
God did not come into the world wrapped with a shiny red bow, pretty and perfect, labeled precisely. No, God came as a vulnerable, helpless infant who needs us as much as we need God. Emmanuel, “God-With-Us” is birthed, unwrapped, and encountered within us and through our own ordinary and mysterious life experience. In the article “The Eternal Christ in the Cosmic Story” Richard Rohr, OFM, explains, “… Christianity is not just that we believe in God. The mystery we are about is much more than that: It’s that the material and the spiritual coexist. It’s the mystery of the Incarnation. Once we restore the idea that the Incarnation means God truly loves creation then we restore the sacred dimension to nature.”
Celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas!
Christmas is not over on December 26. The Feast of Christmas begins on December 25, and culminates January 6, on the Feast of Epiphany. Every day is an opportunity to say yes to love, and wake up to the present moment. For the Twelve Days of Christmas we can practice genuine delight and forgiveness. We can gaze at people and our world with wonder and reverence. We can play with our family and friends. We can be willing to reach out with compassion to a stranger or someone in need. We can offer understanding and courage in difficult situations. We can receive, celebrate, feast, and rejoice in the reality that the material and the spiritual coexist, and that “the word became flesh.” We can become grateful for the gift of the incarnation of God!
Please join the many spiritual seekers who want to unwrap the ever-deepening meaning of “Yes, I will give birth to love. There is room and desire within me.”
Merry Christmas, Joy to the World!