Christmas Season 2014-15
Dear Friends in Christ,
Christmas greetings and blessings to you! The time of Advent has ended and we are into the season of Christmas. No doubt many of us are happy to see the end of our preparations for Christmas. The shopping is complete, the cards have been sent, and I pray that you all had a special Christmas day with your loved ones.
The Christmas season of the liturgical year ends with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord on January 11. There is actually even a good argument for extending this season of light to February 2, on the Feast of the Presentation, the feast of light.
One virtue that I highly recommend that you nourish during this magical season is that of amazement. We all remember the Christmas story in the Gospel Luke of the shepherds to whom the angel of God announced the good news of the birth of Christ. Luke tells us that once they saw the child Jesus they went and made known to all who would listen the message that had been told them about this child. And, “All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds.” (Luke 2, 18). This sense of amazement and wonderment at the birth of Christ, of the God of creation now made man, is at the very heart of our faith. God became a little child taking on our human nature out of love for you and me. Stop and think about this. It is truly an amazing mystery! Think with a sense of wonder for a moment about the vastness and the beauty of the universe coming from the hands of God. It is God’s creation. Nevertheless, this same God has become a man in the child Jesus! This is truly an amazing mystery. In spite of the fact that over two thousand years have passed since the first Christmas, the birth of Jesus should still amaze us. We should still pay attention to his birth. In our life of faith, it is all too easy to fall into a routine, often uninspiring humdrum living out of our faith; which often can lead to the death of a living and dynamic faith. One important way to counter this danger is to frequently, even daily, call to mind, especially in our daily prayer, the amazement that the shepherds felt on gazing upon the face of Jesus, the face of God! And we must pray to God to make that amazement our own. If we are really taken up with this sense of wonder and amazement, our faith will be so much more joyful and vibrant in our daily lives. And we might even be moved, like those first shepherds, to go out and to tell everyone who will listen to us the Good News, that Christ has been born, that God has taken on our humanity so that we might share in His divinity!
May God bless you abundantly during this Christmas season and in the New Year!
Abbot John Brahill, O.S.B. ‘67