Hope for the Holidays

I love everything about Christmas: the giving of gifts, the traditions, the holiday movies, the music,  the lights on the houses, the smell of the tree, the wonder and innocence, the Christmas story…  the list goes on and on. But what I think I love most about Christmas is the way that God moves so beautifully and powerfully through this season, if you stop to look for it, that is.

hope for the holidays
That’s something that we’ve been trying to hit home the past few nights at St. Joseph’s, to encourage the youth to make the most out of the Advent season and prepare their hearts for Christmas. I asked the youth to think about what they think God wants to give them for Christmas, and how they can make themselves ready and available to receive that gift.

I think for most of us, God is probably wanting to give us the grace to see that He’s still here, ever present and ever Love in our lives. Even in the midst of tragedies, God is still reaching out to us, that we may choose His healing and love. Even in the business of the holiday season,  the Lord is always seeking to draw our hearts back to the profound compassion we experience through God’s gift of Christ to us at Christmas time. The Church, because She’s wise and directed by God, helps us to remember the humble divinity displayed by means of the liturgy during the Advents season. The Old Testament readings from Isaiah remind us of all the promises God gave about the coming of the Messiah. It’s important to remember, that the Israelites were a lot like us. They faced difficult times. Their society seemed to have lost touch with their Creator. They needed to be reminded that God was faithful and One who keeps His promises, that He was sending His Son and that there was much to wait in hope for.

Christmas is that beautiful moment, the fullness of time God had been waiting for to come to dwell among us and bring us tenderly back to Him. We get to re-enter that every Christmas.

These people waited for thousands of years to be truly brought back to God, to have their Savior, to have the Christ. No wonder Mary sings for joy, proclaiming that God is remembering His mercy, “His promise to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.” No wonder a multitude of angels come down to the earth to praise God and give him glory for the world to see. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to people of good will.” Christmas is that beautiful moment, the fullness of time God had been waiting for to come to dwell among us and bring us tenderly back to Him. We get to re-enter that every Christmas.

We are able to know Him in an intimate way, through the Eucharist and the Holy Spirit, a way in which the people who came before Christ were never able to. This is truly an intimacy to be thankful for. Christ came at that first Christmas, He comes through His Spirit and through the Mass, and He will come again at the end of time. We get to look back and see how He kept His promise, look around in our own lives and see how He is working and loving.

So encounter Him this Christmas. What do you think God wants to give you this Christmas? Think about it and prepare your heart for it. Enter into the story of His love for us. I know that it’s a story we have heard time and time again, but none of us is exactly same person we were last year. God might be speaking to us differently now and maybe we need to hear something new from Him. Don’t gloss over how the Lord wants to move in your life this Christmas. Take a moment to notice the manger in the starlight, and sit with St. Joseph, Our Lady and Our Lord.

Christ comes to meet you always. Come meet Him this Christmas. Let your heart be open to Him, that He may fill you with His love, give you what you need and reveal the hope you can have in Him.

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