When you hear the word Christmas, what images come to your mind? Perhaps a family gathering around a Christmas tree, sharing of gifts, a table full of your favorite homemade food, stories, music, singing carols, going to midnight mass, decorations, Christmas cards, pictures, laughing, reconnecting with family and friends, children playing, people smiling. Our own specific images and memories will be different for each person, but the one thing that connects them all is relationships.
Our relationships seem to take on a different quality around Christmas; they become even more important as we slow down and reflect. Intuitively we feel drawn to, and long for, more intimacy, a closer connection with others. We become less self-centered, more inclusive, grateful, generous and giving, feel more empathy for, and connection to, the world. We become better people, more loving people. Where does this come from, this Spirit of belonging and oneness that seems to resurface every Christmas?
Christmas is a meditation on incarnation, on the source of eternal and unconditional Divine Love that binds and sustains everything together, on “the Wisdom which orders the universe.” By God’s grace we see things a little more clearly around Christmas, or should we say we open up more, or soften up, to allow God’s love in. And we respond more from our heart instead of our mind. As the Little Prince said: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” God can only be truly known by participating in Love. May we find ourselves immersed in that Love not just around Christmas, but for eternity, by transcending the limitations of space and time, by uniting the matter and spirit, and by recognizing that everything and everyone is anointed with God’s presence. Maranatha.