God is waiting for us on Christmas, and it is up to us to go out and meet him.
If we have ever needed an “invitation” to encounter God, the feast of Christmas is that invitation. It is a time of the year when remember not only the coming of Jesus on Christmas Day, but also look forward when he will come again to invite us into that eternal embrace.
St. John Paul II reflected on this reality during a homily in 1998, focusing on the responsorial psalm, “Let us go joyfully to meet the Lord.”
In Advent we await an event which occurs in history and at the same time transcends it. As it does every year, this event will take place on the night of the Lord’s Birth. The shepherds will hasten to the stable in Bethlehem; later the Magi will arrive from the East. Both the one and the other in a certain sense symbolize the entire human family. The exhortation that rings out in today’s liturgy: “Let us go joyfully to meet the Lord” spreads to all countries, to all continents, among every people and nation.
Our relationship with God is always a two-way street. God opens his arms to us and waits for us. We need to take the initiative and run joyfully to meet him and be embraced by him.
[T]he refrain “Let us go joyfully to meet the Lord” sounds so appropriate. We can meet God, because he has reached out to us. He did so as the father in the parable of the prodigal son (cf. Lk 15:11-32), because he is rich in mercy, dives in misericordia, and wants to meet us from wherever we come and wherever our journey is taking us. God comes to us whether we have sought him, ignored him and or even avoided him. He reaches out to us first, his arms open wide like a loving and merciful father.
If God is moved to reach out to us, can we turn our backs on him?
In a certain sense, the feast of Christmas can make this easier for us, as he appears as a little child with arms open wide. Who can refuse the invitation of an adorable little child?
As we prepare for Christmas, may we take the initiative and respond generously to God’s love, running out to him and allowing God to embrace us. The shepherds and Magi went to meet the Lord — should we not as well?