Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
Reflection for Christmas 2020
My dear Friends:
A Blessed, Joy, and Peace-Filled Christmas to you all! I think you will agree, our experience of this Christmas of 2020 is indeed a unique one! Indeed, a Christmas filled with challenges, but also filled with amazing opportunities for growth and change!
Today, we light the fifth candle on our Advent Candle, the symbol of Jesus, our Light, and the Light of the World. At the beginning of this Advent, I told you the story of the four Advent candles, Faith, Joy and Peace, whose flames and lights had been extinguished, overcome by circumstances and events. However, if you remember, it was Hope which rekindled their flames and restored them as guiding beacons in humankind’s journey through life.
Today, we celebrate the feast of Christ’s birth! Tonight’s reading, from the prophet Isaiah, captures our global journey through, and our response to, this pandemic. What is our response to the trials and tribulations of this pandemic?
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing
…For the yoke that burdened them…
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian
…For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests.
He will be called, Wonderful Counsellor,
Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace…
…The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this!
Jesus is the wreath, and the foundation (hessed/Gentle Mercy) in which we are rooted and grounded. We become His ‘Advent Candles’ of Hope, Faith, Joy and Peace. It is His Love burning, and aflame, within US which is the inexhaustible source of light and healing which we carry into the darkness of despair, oppression, woundedness and brokenness. The five flames on this Advent wreath, Hope, Faith, Joy and Peace, burn as ONE as we receive that same Jesus in the Eucharist, as we become one with him both in Spiritual Communion, and here in the church. As these five flames of God’s Love are born within us, then, like Mary, we become a GodBearer (Theotokos/Θεοτόκος), to our world. It is then that ever wound we heal; every reconciling bridge we construct; every person we affirm; every darkness we illumine; every fear we dispel; and, every hope we restore, we become the Tikkun Olam (עולם תיקון’ /Repair the World’), Repairer of God’s World.
So, my dear friends, amid these challenges of COVID19, be filled with the strength, confidence, Hope, Faith, Joy and Peace of the God who love us, and walks with us! As I once again wish you a loving, Joy and Peace-Filled Christmas, I leave you with the words of Emmet Fox:
There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer;
no disease that enough love will not heal;
no door that enough love will not open;
no gulf that enough love will not bridge;
no wall that enough love will not throw down;
no sin that enough love will not redeem...
It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble;
how hopeless the outlook; how muddled the tangle; how great the mistake.
A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all.
If only you could love enough you would be
the happiest and most powerful being in the world...
Remember me as Loving you