Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Magic of Christmas

“When you see this, your heart will rejoice”
(Isaiah 66:14)

If you ask most people what December is about, they are likely to say, “Getting ready for Christmas.” But go one step further and ask what this means. They will mention buying presents, preparing for guests, or visiting family for the holidays. If you say, “What about celebrating the mystery of the birth of the Son of God?” they will eye you suspiciously and with a tinge of embarrassment say, “Of course. That too.” It was not always this way.

Older people can remember when there was real excitement. As children, we fasted from candy and made little sacrifices for the Christ Child. We saved what little we had to buy presents but also to give something to the poor or to the Church. And we were excited. We all knew of course that Christ was born long ago, but somehow this remembrance made it seem that He was coming again to us.

I recall serving Midnight Mass at the Dominican Sisters’ mother-house and, looking up on Christmas Eve on the way to the chapel, there was a large bright star. I do not now know whether it was the planet Jupiter or Venus in the clear, cold sky. I literally jumped when I saw it. Jesus was coming to our town.

Some call this the magic of Christmas. It’s not magic, of course. Magic is a trick – the appearance of something that actually is not there. Christmas is a mystery: that which is intangible, unseen, is really there. Christ is with us every day whenever we decide to turn to him.

As we think of His coming, we must make a decision. Either we accept His mysterious being and fall on our knees in adoration or we decide that we are going to figure all this out. Either He leads us or we stand around being puzzled by Him. What do you think is your proper response and attitude? You need to decide this, because He comes.

Lord Jesus Christ, You promised to send us your Spirit, the Holy Spirit. Send Him in abundance that he may teach us to pray, as we ought to pray, in adoration. Help us whenever doubts come, doubts that arise from the foolish belief that our minds can measure eternity and the things of God. Give us Your Holy Spirit that he may be our interior teacher. And increase our faith. Amen.
Behold, He Comes – Meditations on the Incarnation, by Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R.

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