AND THE WORLD WAS MADE FLESH, AND DWELT AMONG US
With these words I greet the year 2012 as we enter into it. As I write, one by one, depending on the time zones that they are in, people and communities would be ushering in the new year.
Here where I am at present, in this lovely corner of Catalonia called Costa Brava, particularly in Palafrugell, between us and the New Year are still some hours. As some may remember and be well aware of, here in Europe and in other parts of the world, a lot of countries are suffering economically and continue to do so. The economic crisis and the hard times that lurk ahead is a constant topic on everybody’s lips, and a preoccupation that presses hard on everybody. Because of this, a lot of us view the coming times almost with dread, and anticipate the dark days that are to come.
The liturgy and the Christmas festivities of these last few days seem to paint us a picture that is different from the reality that surrounds us. How could we be capable of celebrating these feasts, when dark times lie in store for us? What message could the rosy nativity scenes that adorn our houses and churches give us; how could these inspire us in these times? Perhaps it could help that, even though we are accustomed to picture these scenes of the birth of our Lord in dainty scenes, the fact is that things were not easy for that lowly couple that came from Nazareth; much less was it rosy for the child born of Mary in the grotto of Bethlehem. In this we could see precisely the message of the Incarnation: the Eternal Word became flesh, so that, sharing our very humanity in all of its aspects, except sin, we would not feel alone, for God is with us. This is the eternal message of Christmas: the eternal Son of God chose to become the Son of Mary in order to share with man the life that knows no end, to illumine us with the light that even the darkness cannot overcome. The center of Christmas is found in one name: EMMANUEL.
As we enter 2012, amid fears and predictions and dark forecasts, the heart of Christmas—Jesus Christ, eternal Son of the Father and Son of Mary—ought to console and strengthen us. GOD IS WITH US!!! Most surely, hard times will come (have we ever known a time when we haven’t had any difficulty of some sort?), but this is never enough reason for us to lose the hope and the joy that is proper to a follower of Christ and a child of God!!!
This is what the Solemnity of the Mary, the Mother of God, teaches us. Aside from the fact that we do not have to lose hope, it gives us the reason for not doing so: we do not lose hope precisely because of who and what we are: “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are!!!” (1 Jn 3:1). And what kind of parent would forget his child? In Isaiah we hear one of the most consoling truths that the Scripture could tell us: “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these would forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have graven you on the palms of my hands”(Is 49:15-16).
Let us go forward then, not with fear, though fearful times may await, but with the hope that strengthens and makes the hearts of those who believe capable of flying even in the midst of the darkest storm. Convinced that God never leaves nor abandons those who call on him in both good times and bad, may the smiles in our hearts ever bring light in this world, already darkened by so much discouragement and lack of hope.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!