Dear Friends of Saint Timothy:
I invite you all to the celebration of a holy Christmas. We are still in Advent, but we are already greeting one another with “Merry Christmas” and carols fill the air reminding us to be jolly. I take great delight in this and my heart swells with sweet memories of Christmases past. As sweet as these are there is something more. Christmas is far greater than merriment, joviality, or an easy joy. There is a deeper and more sober joy to be found here. In this holy feast we open ourselves to what is happening within us: in virtue of our baptism, Jesus continues to be born and grow us. In our flesh we participate in God’s life when we embrace the gift that was given in the Incarnation. Christ within us gives us power to patiently and courageously live God’s life in the world. Each one of us, in the varying, and sometimes difficult circumstances of our lives, embody the gospel we share.
Are you surprised at this? After all, the birth of Jesus did not take place under easy circumstances, but in difficulty and uncertainty. This was not what Mary might have hoped for. She was far from home, without the support and nurture of her extended family. She had heard the strange promise and welcomed it, but until she heard the angels' song pierce the night, she might have felt very much afraid. There in the darkness of the night, her child came to transform the moment. With Jesus' birth the love and all-embracing compassion of God became real, intimate and concrete as a human life.
This is what made the angels sing! This is God’s glory! This is what it is all about!
The schedule of the season is enclosed and as it is one of the holiest of seasons, I encourage all to be present to share this profound joy with us. The heart of our religion is present in these liturgies.
The seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany complete the great cycle of the Incarnation. Through God's great love the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The whole plan beginning with the creation of all things came to unfold in a human life. That life was and is pure love. It was love that brought that saving life to us. It is love that gives us the ability to hope all things and to endure all things. It was Love was that stretched his arms on the Cross. And the love of God is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, as the Incarnation continues to unfold in and through our lives. In us the Word who is Jesus becomes flesh and blood. This is the root and ground of our joy. This is the deeper joy and truth of Christmas.
As we celebrate our Savior's birth may we be bearers, as Mary was, of this Christmas Word. We are to live as signs of God's love to our anxious and divided world. Let us give thanks that Christ, the morning star that knows no setting, continues to pierce the darkness and bring healing in his wings.