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The Christmas message
Beyond the bright lights and the festive clatter of the commercial centres of our cities, the Christmas message is the dawn of a new world and the inversion of the human flat standards regarding life, both personal as well as social.
God became man, not in order to lord it over us, but in order to be near us, next to us, like us, one with us, to show and prove His love for us –even unto death!-, to teach us love and to tell us that we, too, are able with Him, to authentically and correctly love one another as he does. (Mt. 20, 25).
God, in the person of Jesus Christ, became once and for all our ally, our companion, our brother, our guide and our Saviour.
The salvation He offers has eternity for its horizon, i.e. God himself!
The Incarnation (becoming man) of the son of God by its very nature is a Cosmic Event which affects and illuminates the whole Universe and which is the centre and the axis and the horizon of all creation!
Every “corner” of the Universe, every molecule and every atom in the world, every creature and every point, every space and all time have been forever affected by the Incarnation of the Word, to whom nothing is foreign or indifferent.
Let us, therefore, celebrate Christmas with due diligence, thankfulness and joy.
Let us appropriate the Angels’ hymn “Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to people of good will” and let become ours also the announcement to all around us: “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you: he is Christ the Lord” (Lk. 2, 10,11).
On the Front Line
At Bethlehem all men must find their place. In the first rank should be Catholics. Today especially the Church wishes to see them pledged to an effort to make His message of peace a part of themselves. And the message is an invitation to check the direction of every act by the dictates of divine law, which demands the unflinching adherence of all, even to the point of sacrifice. Along with such a deepened understanding must go action. It is utterly intolerable for Catholics to restrict themselves to the position of mere observers. They should feel clothed, as it were, with a mandate from on high.
Pope John XXIII, 25/12/1959
The Christian symbolism of the Christmas Tree
Much ink has been shed regarding the “pagan” origins of the custom of the Christmas tree.
Have we ever thought the reasons why this “loan” has been so successful?
This is why:
the tree symbolizes the human being who, although, has his roots on the earth, he tends to reach up to heaven; and like the tree extends its branches toward the sky, so man spreads his thoughts and his innermost expectations toward heaven, i.e. toward God!
And as the Holy Spirit ornates the faithful soul with His charisms, so the tree is decorated with lights and candles in order to remind us of God’s gifts in our life.
And, talking about gifts:
The tradition of exchanging gifts is, certainly, as old as humanity itself. However, the presents we exchange during Christmas are a particular reminder of the great gift of God to humanity, i.e. that the Son of God became, also, the Son of Man in order to grant us His joy and His Salvation.
May His rich blessings be with us all for evermore!
The Tender-loving (Glykophilousa)..
…He had a great desire to enter into the poor little chapel, to light a candle, to bless himself with the sign of the cross and to, piously, kiss the image of the virgin Mary the Glykophilousa (Tender – loving)
And again I made a move on, to come, Oh my Christ, to your courts, to worship at your thrice-beloved threshold , after which with unsatiated desire my soul hankers.
He would not be otherwise overly busy with the everyday buzz of life (…) so he would stand and listen to the Great Hours and the Vespers of Christmas Eve (…)
My flesh exalts close to you and my heart, like the swallow, found a nest and the turtledove a roof, where to put their young ones to sleep, at your sacred altar, Oh my immortal Christ!
From “Glykophilousa” of Alexandros Papadiamantes (1851-1911)
Did you know…
The word Bethlehem is obviously a Hebrew word and it consists of two other words, namely, Beth and Laham.
The word Beth means house and Laham means bread.
Bethlehem then means “the House of Bread”.
Christ, the Evangelist writes, was born in the city of David, Bethlehem.
Is it sheer coincidence that the Son of God, who nourishes us in the Holy Eucharist, with His Body and Blood, with the Bread of life, was born in the city of Bethlehem?
Certainly, this is not a coincidence but a prophetic sign which reveals to us something of the mission and destiny of Jesus,
In history as in life there are no coincidences but only the divine will and the redemptive plan of God for the world.
Signs of the time
According to the latest statistics of the United Nations of 31 October 2016, the number of refugees in the world is 21.3 millions, most of which are from Syria (4.9 millions), Somalia and Afghanistan.
The existence of refugees is not something novel in the course of the history of humanity, nevertheless, it undoubtedly is “a sign of the times” which obliges us to take a position, seeking God’s will in the events as well as our personal role in relation to them.
Our Christian faith prompts us towards fraternal love and solidarity (Mt. 25, 41-46).
As long as we remain faithful to our faith and to our values, then there is no concern for a possible civilizations’ clash within our societies because of the great number of refugees in them.
Love always wins, because it has infinite dimensions and it also has the power to transform us and to strengthen the image of God within us, both in the person who offers it and to the one who receives it.
And the reason is that “God is love” (1 John 4, 8).
The flight to Egypt
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.
“Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt.
Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod.
And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet:
“Out of Egypt I called my son.
(Mt. 2, 13-15)
The best antidepressant
So for me consolation is the best antidepressant I have ever found!
I find it when I stand before the Lord, and let Him manifest what He has done during the day.
“When at the end of the day I realize that I have been led, when I realize that despite my resistance, there was a driving force there, like a wave that carried me along, this gives me consolation.
It is like feeling, «He is here.» With regard to my pontificate,
it consoles me to feel interiorly: «It was not a convergence of votes that got me into this dance, but that He is in there.»
This consoles me.
And when I notice the times when my resistances have won, that makes me feel sorrow and leads me to ask for forgiveness.”
Pope Francis, during a conversation with Jesuits, 24/10/2016
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