Friday, November 26, 2010
BLOG # 90 Advent 1, 2010
Blog # 90 Advent 1 , 2010 From the very first Christmas after my ordination to the priesthood back in 1954, instead of just signing my name to a commercially printed Christmas greeting I would write a Christmas letter to my family and friends. Yesterday I began to read a few of them . I decided to read them during the four weeks of Advent to help me keep my focus on the feast of Christmas and grow in my awareness and appreciation of the meaning and power of this divine event in the history of the world presented in faith and celebrated again for us in 2010. Then I decided to share a few of them with you in hope they would be a source of blessing for you and they have been for me. 1. When was the most recent time you heard someone, including yourself, use the word 'wonderful' ? I hope it was today. But I have a feeling it might not have been even yesterday or the day before, or for ever-so-long. When was it? Can you remember? Yet here comes Christmas, and surely Christmas is wonderful. Isaiah the 'Christmas Prophet', tells us the child born to us, the Prince of Peace, shall be called wonderful. (9:6) What could this name, given the promised Messiah, mean to us unless we had experienced something wonderful in our lives so we could translate this experience into meaningfulness with regard to the name and identity of Jesus? Can you imagine a blind person receiving a red wool sweater for Christmas? For me the answer is 'yes' and 'no'. The experience might indeed be red and wool and a sweater but with no experience of color for the blind person it would not be experienced as red. In itself, yes, but for the blind person, no. For a sighted person, to open a Christmas gift of a red wool sweater in the dark would be a similar experience. This person has experienced the color red and could see the sweater as red but not so well in a darkened room and not at all in total darkness. The red sweater on a blind person would be just as beautiful in itself as it would be on a sighted person. And you could argue the red sweater would be just as red in the dark as in the light. But the sweaters would not be red and beautiful as red might be for the blind person or for the person looking at them in the dark. There is a parallel in our lives as we prepare to celebrate Christmas. Without sight there is no color for us. Without faith Christmas is at best something that happened in history two thousand years ago. And if we have never experienced something wonderful in our lives then Christmas can hardly be wonderful for us, and the name of Jesus cannot be wonderful for us. We are like the blind person over against the color red. Then too even though we have experienced something wonderful if we do not apply it personally to Christmas, Christmas can hardly be wonderful for us . We are like the person donning the red sweater in the dark. It might be warm and wool but less clearly red. Wonders never cease, thanks be to God. I wonder at the fact I came to be. I wonder at how light casts out darkness. Where does the darkness go? What happens to it when it disappears? I wonder at how a chicken produces an egg and how a cell phone works. Wonders never cease, thanks be to God's love. May you experience many wonderful persons and wonderful things every day of your life . And as we celebrate the birth of Emmanuel, GOD-AMONG-US, may we share together this wonderful gift from our wonderful God, and may the experience make each of us the wonderful person God loves us to be, united with Jesus the Wonderful One as branches on a wonderful living vine the Church! (John 15: 5 ; Col 1: 24 ).