In contemporary Australia, while Christmas is associated with family gatherings, gift-giving, and holidays in the sun, sand and surf, its true meaning is a celebration of that moment in time when, in the immensely attractive account of St Luke, God, in the person of Jesus Christ, was born in poverty in a stable in Bethlehem, because there was no room for Mary and Joseph in the local inn.
This obscure event, about 2000 years ago, in a distant province of the Roman Empire - the greatest the world had seen to that time - changed things forever. As Luke records the words of the Angels to the shepherds: "Behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people ... A Savior has been born for you" (Luke 1:10-11).
In the powerful and mysterious words of St John the Evangelist, the Word of God "dwelt amongst us, full of grace and truth".
There has been much strife and discord in the world since that time, even, sadly, during the past year. For that reason, we need to reflect on the message of Christmas once again.
That message is not one of mushy sentimentality, but of courage, faith, hope, love and strength. We pray:
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful,
and kindle in them the fire of Your love.
Send forth Your Spirit and You will renew the face of the earth.
Lord, by the light of the Holy Spirit,
You have taught the hearts of Your faithful.
In the same Spirit, help us to relish
what is right and always rejoice in Your consolation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
- Peter Westmore: Publisher (E-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org)