Today’s Thoughts: Some thoughts for a Christmas Day…
“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us - and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.
Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.” (Thomas Merton)
While it is good that we seek to know the Holy One, it is probably not so good to presume that we ever complete the task.”
“God loves human beings. God loves the world. Not an ideal human, but human beings as they are; not an ideal world, but the real world. What we find repulsive in their opposition to God, what we shrink back from with pain and hostility, namely, real human beings, the real world, this is for God the ground of unfathomable love.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
“Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love. Then for the second time in the history of the world, we will have discovered fire.” (Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ)
“Just because something is impossible, doesn't mean you shouldn't do it.” (Dorothy Day)
“It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”
“For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.” (Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol)
“Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn't come from a store.” (Dr. Seuss)
“Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home.” (G.K. Chesterton)
“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:5)
“We are all meant to be mothers of God...for God is always needing to be born.”
“Every creature is a word of God and is a book about God.”
“We are celebrating the feast of the Eternal Birth which God the Father has borne and never ceases to bear in all eternity…. But if it takes not place in me, what avails it? Everything lies in this, that it should take place in me.” (Meister Eckhart)
All of these thoughts have something to say about our celebration of Christmas. However, I think Eckhart, the great Dominican mystic of the Middle Ages, has his finger on the meaning of the Christmas feast we begin to celebrate today. Yes, Christ was born in history some 2,000 plus years ago and yes Christ will be born again at the Second Coming but what is most important for us is that Christ is born each day within us. As Eckhart says, “Everything lies in this, that [Christ’s birth] should take place in [us].” In other words, each day we need to take on the responsibility of giving birth to Jesus by the living of our lives. We should bring the presence of God to the world each day.
Over the next day or so if we are lucky, we will encounter children joyfully celebrating the gift of Christmas in song, in story, in pageant. We will experience them as angels, shepherds, Mary and Joseph. We will watch them place the child in the manager and proclaim, “Glory of God on high and Peace on Earth to all people of good will.” We will see the joy, the excitement, and nervousness on their faces. And after all is said, sung and done we will for a moment sense the true meaning of Christmas that God is with us!
My hope is that this Christmas, as you celebrate the mystery of the Christmas Eucharist, as you gather with family and perhaps friends, amid good food and choice drink, as presents are frantically opened and enjoyed you will look around at the faces of fellow parishioners, guests, friends and family and see the wonderful gift of God’s presence.
We are lucky people – no, we are blessed people because Emmanuel is born within us each day all we need to do is believe!
“Let us draw from the crib the joy and deep peace that Jesus comes to bring to the world.” (Pope Francis)
A Blessed and Holy Christmas to all!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...