Christmas Blessings: Presence and Freedom

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Christmas is about Presence and Freedom.

Many, many years ago, people saw God as a distant unreachable Lord, who ruled the heavens and the earth from on high. Through Christmas, God has blessed our lot by sharing in our humanity. Through the mystery of Christmas, God has revealed himself as loving Father, dutiful Son and life-giving Spirit. He has always been present in creation and throughout history; but through the Incarnation he has given his presence a human face. Through the gift of life, he has also made us present to him. Presence starts with an awareness I am not alone. There is someone else aside from myself. The awareness soon becomes a relationship. I and other have a lot to talk about and do together. Relationships then become the source and fountainhead of a community. And the most essential of communities is the family where the festivities of Christmas are meaningfully celebrated.

When God became present to us, he did not come in wind or thunder, nor as a mighty and powerful conqueror. He chose to come as a child, tender gentle and mild. And even his birth was made possible by Mary’s Fiat to be the handmaid of the Lord and Joseph’s consent to take on Mary as his wife. The Holy Family is a community of freedom, of choices and decisions to accept God’s presence and invitation to a relationship. The Child born of Christmas day will grow up to proclaim his gospel of freedom to captives, those enslaved by sin and their inordinate passion.

There are many who would say there is no child in the manger. Many would have the Christ stricken out of Christmas. Indeed, the Child will come and be present only when he is welcomed in freedom in the manger of my heart.

From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known. John 1:1-18

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