The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas
By Beth DeCristofaro
I write to you not because you do not know the truth but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth. (1 John 2:21)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world (John 1:1, 9)
Lord, You created me to live in freedom
May Your Holy Spirit guide me to follow You freely.
Instill in my heart a desire
To know and love you more each day. ( www.sacredspace.org )
Just a week ago, a baby was born and God entered the world. Angels sang and we joined them in Masses of exultation. Since then we observed the memorials of a martyr and of innocents murdered. We read the words of John warning about antichrists and heard the voice of Christ reminding his disciples that those who follow him will find strife and division. Hardly seems like a way to celebrate the new life He offers! However there is hope and light: "[T]o those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God. (John:12)
Just as the disciples struggled to understand who Jesus was as they walked with him, we struggle with following Jesus who is the Word. Do our ideals really move us?
Do we hold ideal the fidelity and humility which Mary showed? "Be it done to me according to your Will."
Are Jesus' mercy and forgiveness ideals in our life? "Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing."
Does Stephen's trust in the face of his own murder strengthen our hope: "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
Do the ideals that these great ancestors of our faith exhibited enlighten our everyday choices and actions? Is there Light in the darkness for us?
In his Christmas sermon Pope Benedict said: "May the Child Jesus bring relief to those who are suffering and may he bestow upon political leaders the wisdom and courage to seek and find humane, just and lasting solutions. To the thirst for meaning and value so characteristic of today's world, to the search for prosperity and peace that marks the lives of all mankind, to the hopes of the poor: Christ - true God and true Man - responds with his Nativity. Neither individuals nor nations should be afraid to recognize and welcome him: with Him "a shining light" brightens the horizon of humanity; in him "a holy day" dawns that knows no sunset. May this Christmas truly be for all people a day of joy, hope and peace!" (From http://www.zenit.org/article-21392?l=english)
In the New Year, it is time to revisit our actions which extend from our ideals. Are they the actions of a child of God? Or do we act based on "truths" that our culture, country or even our own ego tells us to follow? Use one of the readings from this octave of Christmas to reflect upon the words and actions of Stephen, Mary Magdalene, Simeon, Joseph, Mary, or the magi.