Christmas has always been an endearing and enduring story of love, peace, joy and hope. In Mary, we feel the love that a mother has for her child bearing everything to bring him into the world. In the Child Jesus, we see the hope for a better world for here is the Messiah who will change the world. In that stable and in the face of Joseph, we experience peace in the midst of the flurry then of people going about being registered in compliance with an imperial edict. And in the face of the shepherds and the angels who brought them the message, there is joy at this wondrous moment. They probably did not fully understand what was happening but there was joy in their faces.
The story, together with the entire gospel, has been re-told, re-written and proclaimed over and over again throughout the years. Even today, we have to create our own Christmas story. We have to re-write the gospels for our times.
This is the image of Our Lady of La Vang, venerated among Catholics in Vietnam. She looks very Asian. The Madonna of Juan Diego, venerated among Mexicans, looks like one of the native Indians of Mexico. And so it is where ever there has been a Mariam apparition, the Lady appears like one of the natives. But always, her message is the same: the love, peace, hope and joy that she felt when she gave birth to her Son.
Mary did nothing to deserve the singular honor to be the Mother of God. But here response made all the difference. With her Fiat, she allowed God to come fully into her life and she did so with full trust and fidelity. I did nothing to deserve the life I have. I pray that I will be like Mary and say Yes to God with full trust and fidelity. And I will share the true meaning of Christmas – Love, Peace, Joy and Hope – to all the people I encounter in this life I have been gifted with.
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” Luke 1:39-45