Christmas Reflection 2017
At this time when Mary and Joseph are following an inner vision, the three Kings are following an extraordinary star, and angels are appearing to shepherds near Bethlehem, we too turn the eyes of our souls toward the great Gift that comes to us in the Person of Jesus, our Savior.
We may think this is old news: that Jesus comes to save us. But it seems that in the world today, the same world that lay in darkness at the Advent of Christ’s birth, we have need of a greater appreciation of our need to be saved.
Man has tried over the ages to save himself. And though often well-intentioned, the simple truth persists: “if the Lord does not build the house, in vain do the builders labor.” –Ps 127:1
We often live our lives without ever really seeking the whole salvation that Jesus comes to give us. He not only wants to free us from sin, but from worry, from resentment, from wounds and hurts that keep us bound to the past, from loneliness, from narrowness, from boredom, from indifference, from blindness, from selfishness, from our suspicions, our doubts, our negativity and fears, from self-sufficiency, from everything that leads us to spiritual starvation. He comes to give us life, and the more abundant life!
Yet how often do we use our words to try and save ourselves or others, instead of going to the Word to be saved by it. Or how often do we think our work, our apostolate, our service is the vehicle of salvation, forgetting that the work belongs to God and will only be made fruitful in Him.
We form human alliances instead of striving to live in communion with the Triune God who gives, heals and elevates every relationship. Or we stand in judgment over others rather than loving them and escaping our own judgment by living God’s charity which He promises covers a multitude of sins.
We try to save ourselves from our addictions and only end up replacing one with another. We do the same with our weaknesses. We spiritualize them in an attempt to still our consciences rather than seeking and depending upon God’s merciful grace. Our real self, which we hide, nevertheless dogs us into our life of prayer and charity toward our neighbor, especially those we live with. So we try to heal our brokenness with all sorts of self-help programs instead of letting God help us.
Jesus knows how hard it is for us to truly acknowledge our need to be saved. He knows how our pride blinds us. He knows how difficult it is for us to approach Him unguardedly. So He comes to us as a tiny baby, and as babies are able to do, draws us to Himself and commands our attention and affection by His beauty and littleness. There is no other human being we take as easily to ourselves as a little baby. There is no other that disarms us and wins our heart and our affections so quickly. There is no other creature that draws the good from within us, all that is human, the way a baby does, and most importantly, the way the Baby Jesus does.
May each of us this Christmas be given, and receive in all humility, the eyes of the Shepherds, the determination of the Wise Men to follow the vision of the Star, and the heart and soul of Mary and Joseph who so eagerly saw and so completely received the magnificent love come to us Incarnate in Christ Jesus our little Lord and mighty Savior.
Come Lord Jesus. Come to save us! Do not delay!
Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT