Blog # 231 Where Did Christmas Go?
The tree is gone. The lights and decorations are stored in the garage. Christmas is over. Chances are you have not thought of it in the last several weeks.
But what about what Christmas was supposed to be really about, the birthday of Jesus, God coming among us as one of own own? Has that gone too? Did Jesus come for just a week or two and then back off again until next year? Was it that way when your son was born, or your daughter, your sister, or your brother? A new relationship was realised in their birth as brother sister son daughter, and that relationship continues. Should it be otherwise with Jesus?
Rather suddenly after Christmas Jesus was full grown and began His ministry of healing and teaching. ln the incidences and stories of the life of Jesus we lifted up in the liturgical readings for the past several weeks, our minds were focused on particular individual experiences and responses to Jesus. In the process, a relationship of it all with Christmas may have been unknown overlooked or forgotten.
So this week I asked myself the question where did Christmas go, and found it helpful in preparing for the season of Lent, which begins this coming Wednesday. I asked myself why did Jesus come, originally twenty centuries ago in Bethlehem, and in our lives this Christmas, in 2011, in Augusta, Georgia. Urged on and as a result of the social customs we have built around December 25th and the pressure of modern advertising and business interests, people received and gave gifts and sent greetings to one another sharing love and joy . Yet the truth is, these secular human natural experiences are historically rooted in the original coming of Jesus to earth.
The glitter, the gifts, the business of Christmas, could be taken as a tribute to Jesus. Sharing the Father's love for all creation and for all people, Jesus certainly rejoices in the happiness love and goodness people experience and share at Christmas. But is this precisely why He came? Now two months beyond December 25th, the distractions are put away, and it is a better time to ask the question. What really did Jesus come to do? What is His agenda for us , here and now? Though such a rich question could be answered several ways, one simple yet far reaching and profound answer comes in His words: "I came that my sheep may have life, and have it to the full." Jn 10: 10. Also cf Jn 5:40;6:35;10:28.
Other prophets and teachers were raised up and sent by God to tell and show us how to live happily here on earth as good and happy men and women. Jesus is not just another of these. Jesus stands alone as God's own Son, divine as well as one of us, a bridge between Heaven and earth, telling and showing us in His own experience of two lives rather than one to which we are called. The first life is experienced by all people. The second is given to those who believe.
Lent is our time of preparing ourselves to understand and experience more deeply the meaning and truth of the 'reason' Jesus had for coming. He came to invite us to become by faith children of God, sharing His very own divine experience, rooted in earth, discovered on earth, fulfilled in Heaven. He reminded us better fruit comes from better trees. It follows that the more perfect we are as naturally born persons here and now the more perfect we are as supernaturally 'born from above' children of God here and forever.
Do you see anything in your life these days which should be eliminated or developed to make you a better person and through this process, coupled with faith, a better child of God? If so, you have your agenda for this Lent mapped out for you. If not, ask a couple of questions again. Where did Christmas go? What did Jesus come to do, for/with/in me?
HAPPY EASTER !