We have many reasons this Advent to be discouraged. We wonder where we have strayed as a people from justice, love and humility. There is darkness in our lives that needs a sign of newness to encourage us to change. We are invited to trust that Jesus’ life and words are the way to live with freshness and spiritual integrity. Our spirits long for insight into life. We want to emerge from our contradictions and to welcome Jesus into our lives. We ask ourselves how we can be spiritually strong yet tender in our personal relationships, how we can be the same in our responsibilities as citizens? Where will we find direction to guide our actions? The cry “Come” is repeated in the liturgy again and again, insistent and hope-filled. “Come Emmanuel and set your people free…”
O Come. O Come, Emmanuel!
I will try not to let the busyness of this day deprive me of time to reflect on the real meaning of this celebration.
The Virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.
O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people,
come set us free, Lord our God.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Jesus teaches us another way: Go out. Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brothers, go out and share, go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit.
To call Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, Lord and Savior as the Christmas stories do, is a confession of commitment, allegiance, and loyalty. To do so means: I see in this person the anointed one of God, the decisive disclosure of God –of what can be seen of God in a human life, the fulfillment of Israel’s deepest yearnings , the one who reveals God’s dream for the world. This is what it means to call him Emmanuel and affirm that Emmanuel has come.
Marcus Borg, The First Christmas
Christmas is the perfect time to celebrate the love of God and family and to create memories that will last forever. Jesus is God’s perfect, indescribable gift. The amazing thing is that not only are we able to receive this gift, but we are able to share it with others on Christmas and every other day of the year.
The message of Christ is not Christianity. The message of Christ is Christ.