Saturday, December 25, 2010

Among Us

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, Announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, and saying to Zion, "Your God is King!" Isaiah 7:7

In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he spoke to us through a son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe, who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word. When he had accomplished purification from sins, he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high, as far superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. Hebrews 1:1-4

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5

He is with us. But are we with him? O God, you have welcomed us and shown us how much you value us and love us through the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ. May we offer others the same welcome we have received through your grace, remembering that it is your amazing grace that enables us to reach out in love to others. Help us to let go of our fears and insecurities and prejudices so that we may boldly follow Jesus’ example, inviting people to the banquet of your gracious love. Teach us to be a welcoming church that practices Radical Hospitality so that we may draw more and more people into the body of Christ—not for our own selfish pride, Lord, but for your glory alone. Amen.

God, as we move forward in the days ahead, may we always remember that the birth of your Son was not just a cause to celebrate but also was a call to us not to be served but to serve in the same way Jesus came as a vulnerable baby to experience the service-love of the Holy Family and then to be a servant leader among us. Lord, may we remember that it is for your glory—not our own—that we are to welcome others just as the Holy Family welcomed you and as you wait us in heaven like the Prodigal Father to always welcome us home again.

Is this any way for a Superstar to come into the world?

Is this a world which needs a Superstar now more than in Biblical Palestine?

There are two principal parts of the Christ Mass miracle that aree awesome and inspiring. First is the willing-ness of God to express "a love supreme," that he abandoned heaven to come to live among us, with us every day, not just for the 33 or so years of life lived by Jesus of Nazareth but for all time, through all his shared creation, for all people.

Second is the faith that compelled Mary and Joesph to open their minds to the word of God that was revealed and unveiled to them, to open their hearts to the person of God entrusted to them, and to open their lives to the fullness of God encountered in their lives every day. Each day, Mary would rise and make breakfast for the person of God in her midst. Joseph would head to his workshop to make a living to support the family of God. Jesus would do his part in the daily chores to support his parents until he had to make the transition to support the work he was sent to complete.

Whose love was supreme? There is no need to choose. Today we celebrate the incarnation and the radical, extreme hospitality that made it all possible.

How do we react to the presence of God in our lives? Do we great it as an annual event when we celebrate Christmas? Or do we treat it as the Holy Family did -- as a daily event to be lived in the extraordinary times of birth and death as well as on every ordinary day in between?

We can celebrate Christmas today. But why not celebrate it everyday? Why not leave just one of your Christmas decorations out all year long so you can meditate on this love supreme whenever you gaze upon it? That item can be your icon that calls you to piety-prayer when you see it. That also can be your icon that calls you to action-service to those around you whenever you see it. and that item of Chistmas everyday can be your way to study God's presence in your present moment every moment of the year.