God sent angels to tell the shepherds a Savior had been born. Today He sends us.
Christmas has been so reclaimed by a godless world that a growing number of our contemporaries have forgotten its origin. Certainly, the Nativity scene gives them a general idea, but they do not know that this little child lying in a simple manger has come to bring them the love and joy they desperately seek.
Instead of bringing hope, Christmas time for so many is an opportunity to feel even more acutely the emptiness of an existence without ideals, the weight of loneliness, bitterness over the lack of money, and disgust with oneself and others.
We cannot resign ourselves to the materialistic usurpation of Christmas. We are responsible for our brethren; we are responsible for the Gospel that the Lord has entrusted to us. We must evangelize. It is not optional, it is a duty. And it is especially so in this time of Advent. God sent angels to the shepherds to tell them that a Savior had been born. Today He is sending us.
“I am sending you like sheep among wolves” (Mt 10:16). Jesus warned us. So let’s not be surprised when we are misunderstood, mocked or scorned. Let’s not worry about the obstacles that arise to discourage our evangelizing zeal: in a way, this is a rather good sign. The Evil One does not like joy and seeks by all means to prevent us from spreading it. Evangelizing has never been easy, but if the Lord asks us, He will give us the means to do so. Let us trust Him.
Announcing the joy of Christmas is first of all about living it and sharing it.
How can the world believe in the Good News of Christmas if Christians, like others, are mired in their own worries, monopolized by the race for money and material goods, more concerned about what food is on their plate than about the fate of their neighbor? During this time of Advent, let us ask ourselves what the meaning of Christmas is for us. What is the true essence of Christmas? What does this essence change, or what should it change, in our lives? These weeks leading up to Christmas are offered to us as an opportunity for conversion. If we do not enter fully into the mystery of Christmas, we will not be able to evangelize.
It is up to each family to find ways to do this: make a Christmas Eve meal for an elderly neighbor, call distant relatives or friends (a phone call can be a very beautiful Christmas gift), or make Christmas cards or small gifts (cakes, bars, cookies) to give someone who lives alone.
The first ones to we have to announce the joy of Christmas to are our children.
Announcing the joy of Christmas is also a reminder that, in time and beyond time, God became man to save us from evil and death, that Santa Claus is only a legendary character while Jesus is real, that He is alive today, that the Christmas story is not a beautiful past legend but a message of Good News that is still relevant today.
If a child has found the right words to announce the joy of Christmas, if he has kept the wonder of his childhood around this feast, it is because he has experienced real Christmas with his family, centered on the essential, where the joy came neither from the sumptuousness of the gifts, nor from the huge meal of Christmas Eve, nor from the expectation of Santa Claus.
The first ones we have to announce the joy of Christmas to are our children: let us prepare for them and with them a beautiful Christmas celebration so that they may discover, through the little human joys, the joy of God.