When I wrote today’s Catholic Match piece, I was taking it for granted that the year would end in tumult (these things are written weeks or months in advance). Turns out, this is even more timely than I expected:
In truth, if you’re seeking reasons to lament the apparent failure of the angelic promise of Christmas there is no need to go to a Civil War or a natural disaster or…whatever you would call the events of 2020.
Loneliness, disappointment, and depression will do just as well or better for most of us. Sure things are bad on a global level, but what is that to the fact that maybe we’ve just lost a job, are mourning the death of a loved one, or ended yet another year still single?
Yet every year, amidst whatever personal or historical sufferings or disasters that confront us, we receive that same message from on high: “Fear not, for I bring you good tidings of great joy.”
Those good tidings are not of the immediate end of war, or of the restoration of basic sanity to our civilization. They aren’t even of personal happiness and success, the promise of a better year to come.
They are, “this day is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.”
We know, for we are told, that this is good news.
But what does it mean here and now? It clearly doesn’t mean ‘peace on earth,’ at least not in the sense we would expect, for wars and strife still torment us.
Yes, but it means that these things shall not have the final word. Our existence is not limited to this world. For God has come to establish His Kingdom upon earth; a kingdom not of this world. To be of that kingdom is to be in right relation to the cause and center of our being. And God has provided us the means to do this through His son, who is born to us on Christmas day.
That is the peace on Earth that angels proclaimed, and that is the great joy of Christmas; the peace of being in union with God, and the joy of knowing that He has come among us. This is a peace and joy that can and has endured amid the most savage worldly turmoil and most devastating personal tragedies.
Hence the joy of Christmas, the reason why songs of celebration are uplifted every year on this day even from battlefield trenches and terminal wards.
Read the rest here.
Merry Christmas everyone, and be not afraid!
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