With the proximity of the fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas Day and the great variety of readings available for our instruction and edification, may I reflect upon the fact of the Christmas Story.
It is in effect the timely, but from a human point of view so untimely, action of the Holy Spirit. Once Mary said “YES”, then things began to change; and with those changes came the words of encouragement: “Do not be afraid.”
Consider Gabriel speaking to Mary, the angel in speaking to Joseph in his dream and the angels speaking to the shepherds. In all cases, their preconceived worlds were taken apart, turned upside down, and the proposed future changed for ever. And all the comforting words were “Do not be afraid!” Afraid, of course I am afraid!
Some of the terrifying questions are written in the Gospel accounts. Some we can speculate about. The world did not appreciate the importance of the event then, and many parts still deny the fact of history in 2017. Here we are 2000 years later still celebrating that event of far away Bethlehem and, as a Buddhist friend remarked to me this week, “Christmas is important to many non-Christians.” Still, we are afraid of what the Holy Spirit did, and what It might do now.
Our world has had a tumultuous year made more tumultuous by the modern means of communication. It was tumultuous in the days of Herod and his decree about all the young baby boys under two engendered great confusion and fear. Sadly, many under two still suffer the same fate. Our Church, especially our Leadership, has had a tumultuous year as well; we all suffer with them. Maybe the call of the Spirit acting in a different way still has the same message: “Do not be afraid.”
So, let each revisit the crib.
Let each note, hear, smell and see what is going on in the crib.
Ultimately it is about new life, new hope for broken humanity.
Let each receive the message and bring that message to our families and our world
Visit the Crib, everywhere.
DO NOT BE AFRAID!
P.S. A very happy and holy Christmas to you all. May the season be restorative and peaceful.