If we but had the eyes to see God’s face in every cloud
If we but had the ears to hear His voice above the crowd
If we could feel His gentle touch in every stirring breeze
And find the haven in His arms beneath leafy sheltering trees
We would not need to ponder or ask to understand
For we’d know HE HELD THE ANSWERS IN THE HOLLOW OF HIS HAND.
——- Helen Steiner Rice.
The sum and substance of Christmas—— celebrating the greatest of God’s gifts : God’s presence as “PERSONAL PRESENT” in God’s Son, Jesus. Sadly, with the money-making merriment that market forces peddle, the profoundest meaning of Christmas gets eclipsed. Let’s rewrite the CHRISTMAS STORY. Every Christmas reminds us that God has not finished with us. He is still moulding and shaping us like clay, and when He gives the finishing touches, we will be like beautifully crafted pots, ready to hold all the love and beauty that He will pour into us.
Originally Christmas was a happy family feast, when people came home, from far and near, just to be with the family, sharing not just food but also so many memories and experiences. Today, many people are lonely at Christmas, because they have no one to celebrate the feast with. For most people, Christmas has become simply a ritual of going to Church in one’s best clothes and a few handshakes at the end of service.
There are no Christmas carol-singing groups bringing Christmas to our doorsteps. Many traditions have developed around Christmas —– the mistletoe, the advent candles, the feeling of anticipation, of welcoming a great event —- the birth of Jesus, who is Emmanuel, God with us. I must be a part of the SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS. —– Even on Christmas Day, there are some families who don’t have enough to eat, no clothes to wear, no shoes for their weary feet, while other families have it all —– Christmas cakes, pudding, roast chicken or turkey ——- sometimes most of which is wasted. In the so-called Christian countries, in the West, there are homeless people shivering in the dark winter, while other splurge on every conceivable luxury around.
We have to rewrite the CHRISTMAS STORY. A real Christmas is sharing from the plenty we have with those who don’t. A celebration is real only when everybody is included and we are able to be compassionate towards those who are lonely, destitute and unhappy. Surely, we will bring a smile to their lips and they too will sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come.” Thus , it will be truly be a VERY HAPPY & BLESSED CHRISTMAS.”
Inputs from Father Francis Gonsalves an Janina Gomes