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The Way of Christmas

We live in an adult world filled with adult conflicts and problems. Answers are hard to find--solve one thing and another problem waits. It seems endless.

We can turn away, focus on ourselves or our small tasks, telling ourselves we're just one person. Nobody can expect us to provide solutions.

We can say we are too busy, that "charity begins at home", and nobody can expect us to solve global problems.

We can say the world is doomed, that our efforts don't provide the sheer force needed to move mountains and tame floods. Isn't it too late? Where can any of us find solutions...?

Eight-hundred years ago, Saint Francis built a stable with a manger full of straw. Looking into the manger he saw a baby, tiny, helpless, needing love, warmth and touch. Over the centuries we have pushed God to arm's length (or farther), calling him "Mighty", "Judge of the world", and "Bringer of the End-times..." All of these are true about God, but when's the last time we called God "Answer"...?

God is Answer to all the prayers of all humanity over all of time. A little while ago I read where a man said "There is no God, and prayer doesn't work!" It was strange, because I didn't feel angry. Instead, it sounded to me like a request, like the man was asking someone, anyone, to show him God... and to show how prayer works.

So I got to thinking, how do we show the world this Baby in the manger? How do we share the hope of Christmas? Remember what it says in the song: "The first noel the angels did say was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay..." Christ came first to the poor. We are all poor, but no one who believes in Jesus is too poor to share faith, hope or love. In fact, in that tiny, helpless Baby we have everything worth having! Francis showed us that power, influence and wealth aren't needed. Seeing God in the blessings of Creation--and in the people all around us--that's where we find our path.

Christmas calls us not only to merriment and song, but to conversion, to walking "across or against" the values of a terrified and hopeless world. Christmas is bold stuff! Christmas is radical liberation, joy to the world, peace to all people everywhere, the birth of Justice, the coming and the continuing presence of the Savior of humanity and the fulfillment of all the created and uncreated world. These are the gifts Christ brings at Christmas! These are his Good News!

This Christmas, be merry! Look at what you've got--not from the world but from Christ--and rejoice. Put down your arguments and welcome the world at the table of your heart. Share faith! Show hope! Give love to everyone you meet. See where Christmas takes you.


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