Thursday, December 24, 2015

"This Is the Wonder of Christmas!"

“To celebrate Christmas in a fruitful way, we’re called to dwell in its 'places' of wonder. And what are these places in daily life?

There are three. The first place is the other, who we recognize as a brother, because from when the birth of Jesus happened, every face then carried the imprint of the Son of God, above all when it’s the face of the poor, because from poverty God entered into the world and, first of all, it was with the poor that he let himself be surrounded.

Another place of wonder – the second – in which, if we look with faith, we’re shown wonder is in history. Many times, we believe we’re seeing it the right way, and instead we risk reading it backwards. For example, it happens when we think it determined by the market economy, ruled by finance and business, dominated by the powers that be. Instead, the God of Christmas is one who “reshuffles the cards”: he likes doing that! As Mary sings in the Magnificat, it’s the Lord who casts down the mighty from their thrones and lifts up the lowly, fills the hungry with good things and sends away the rich empty-handed. This is the second wonder, the wonder of history.

A third place of wonder is the church: to look upon it with the wonder of faith means not limiting oneself to consider it only as a religious institution, which it is, but to feel her as a Mother who, despite spots and wrinkles – and we have many! – shows forth the shape of a Wife beloved and purified by Christ the Lord. A church that knows how to recognize the many signs of faithful love that God continually sends her, a church for which the Lord Jesus will never be a possession to be jealously guarded – those who do this err – but always comes with him to encounter and which awaits with trust and joy, giving voice to the hope of the world. The church that calls out to the Lord: 'Come, Lord Jesus!' The mother Church who always has her doors and arms thrown open to welcome everyone. Indeed, the mother Church who leaves behind her own doors to seek with a mother’s smile all those at a distance and bring them to the mercy of God. This is the wonder of Christmas!

At Christmas, God gives us His whole self in giving his Son, his Only one, who is all his joy. And only with the heart of Mary, the humble and poor daughter of Zion, become Mother of the Son of the Most High, is it possible to rejoice and bask in the great gift of God through his unforeseeable surprise. May she help us to understand this wonder – these three wonders: the other, history and the church – of the birth of Jesus, the gift of gifts, the undeserved gift who brings us salvation.

Meeting Jesus will make us feel this great wonder too. But we can’t have it, we can’t meet Jesus if we don’t look to encounter him in others, in history and in the church.
–Pope Francis
20 December 2015
...and even as these wonders never cease to surround us, may we know the grace not just to see them, but to share them, on this Holy Night and ever beyond.

Christus Natus est, venite adoremus... Buon Natale a tutti con tutte le grazie – to one and all, those you love and those you serve, every wish for a joy-filled, blessed and Merry Christmas, whose Child's gifts of hope, light and peace know no end.