From the Deacon’s Desk: Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts
December 25 – Christmas Day
This week, we receive from God the greatest gift ever – the gift of a tiny child born in the obscurity of a manger. He comes quietly under the cover of night to lift the darkness and reveal the light. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy … For today … a savior has been born for you.” In John’s gospel in the morning we will hear “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us”…From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, … grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Saint Paul says it this way: “The grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires.” God gift’s us with the grace of his son. He calls us into His ways and away from sin.
Jesus comes to join us in our humanity that we might one day join him in his divinity. He is the great puzzle master, come to put back together the broken pieces of our humanness that were scattered by the actions of Adam and Eve. And like the puzzle, the gift is not whole until it is completed through the actions of his life, through his death and resurrection and through his second coming – the final resurrection. He shows us the way to salvation and eternal life. From his crib where he becomes like us in all ways but sin; to baptism where he flings open the doors to eternity, if we will only walk with him, if we will only work with him, he frames up our path to salvation and starts to put the pieces back together. He takes us to his cross and challenges us to pick up the cross and follow him, to let the rough edges get smoothed out, to open our hearts and let him in. He can help us to connect the pieces in a way that we never could alone. He will find every piece and put it in its proper place, for he tells us “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me… and I will not lose anything of what he gave me, for this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life.” He died for us that he might open the doors to heaven, paving the road for us. He comes to us through the Eucharist at the altar, that we might be fed and shaped and formed – if only we will work with him and let him into our hearts – so that we might once again be complete at the second coming and the final resurrection. You see the true meaning of Christmas is Easter and beyond. Christmas leads us to Easter and Easter to salvation.
Jesus Christ has been born! Jesus Christ is our hope! Jesus Christ is our Savior! He restores our spiritual life making whole the puzzle that connects the human to the divine. In this season of pure love he brings us the tranquility of heavenly peace. His birth would change our lives forever. He did not do grand things – certainly not at first. He simply was present to us, living with us, walking with us, playing with us and talking with us. Thirty years in he began to preach and teach and heal and forgive. He invited us to come along saying “come and follow me.” But he never seemed to force things or try to fix things. He was always – first and foremost – present. He waits patiently for our yes!
As Vincentians, we can learn from this. Sometimes the most important ministry we can engage in is the ministry of presence – simply being present and available to someone to let them know you care. How often when we hear someone’s story is our first reaction to ‘fix them?’ But do we take the time to listen to hear their real needs? And do we take the time to simply be present as Christ was present for us?
Lord Jesus, give us the patience to stop, listen and hear. Give us the compassion to love and comfort. Give us the courage to simply sit and be present. May we too, through our presence to those we meet, give birth to new hope in their lives as you did in ours. We pray all of this in your name. Amen