A Last-Minute Thought for Your Christmas Wish List
Now that you have received this post and are going down these lines, I know my prayers were heard.
Since we are all preparing for one of the most important holidays of the year, you could’ve easily ignored this blog post. Yet, here you are, and I cannot resist the urge to share some thoughts with you. Time is of the essence!
Normally, Christmas is a joyful experience filled with beautiful Christmas cards, thoughtful gifts, and relaxing vacation plans. But sometimes, our holiday season becomes a stressful, uncertain, challenging enterprise.
For example, I have been thinking about the many adversities that Joseph and Mary went through in preparation for the coming of their newborn. As a young father, I recall a roller coaster of emotions before receiving our twins: happiness, anticipation, excitement, but also worry and discomfort.
As we approach the last mile of the Advent season and as we light the fourth and last Advent wreath candle in preparation for Christmas, I invite you to take a moment to feel “uncomfortable,” by remembering the difficult journey of the Holy Family. Through a genuine exercise of charity and compassion, asking the Holy Spirit to guide and enlighten you, confront those feelings of uncertainty in your own life, your family’s or friends’.
I also invite you to think and mercifully pray for those trying to overcome obstacles, cope with a crisis in the family, or get over a separation or divorce. Let us try to enter into true solidarity with our sisters and brothers, to experience the feelings of those who currently have a pressing need and would more than likely prefer to be in your shoes during these trying times.
And after prayer and reflection, let’s set our “faith in action.”
The Year of Mercy, and A Light Brightly Visible, the pastoral letter from Archbishop Lori, reminds us of that need and urgency to a take action. The Archbishop leads us into a concrete application of “missionary conversion,” a term that Pope Francis uses to explain that our mission as a Church is “not only a change of thinking, but indeed a change in how we operate, such that our daily work will clearly bear witness to Christ, and be and be seen as a response to Christ’s missionary mandate.” (A Light Brightly Visible, 13)
We are called to bring life and light to those around us. In his first Encyclical, Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis reminded us of the importance of this accompaniment attitude in our lives, either as ministers, but, most importantly, as Christians called to live a full life in Christ: “To enable us to know, accept and follow him, the Son of God took on our flesh. In this way he also saw the Father humanly, within the setting of a journey unfolding in time. Christian faith is faith in the incarnation of the Word and his bodily resurrection; it is faith in a God who is so close to us that he entered our human history.” (Lumen Fidei, 18)
Dear friends: God is just around the corner, ready to start the most beautiful journey of unconditional love to you and me. Are you ready?
I will end this message (so we can both continue with our busy day) by asking: How are you living that sense of “discomfort” in your life of ministry? What are the aspects of the ministry and/or your personal life that are more challenging to exercise such missionary conversion?
It is a challenge to me to focus on the discomforts of the Holy Family when we are in such a season of “comforts”, luxuries, feasts, warm sweaters, cozy homes, etc.
It would be interesting to think of traditions that are less materialistic than the ones I have now. The best traditions I have seen come from some of the young families I know who are teaching their children through celebrating the Feast of St. Nicholas or a daily “Jesse tree” activity.