Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
December 23, 2007
A Birth - A Contemporary Message
The season of Advent is coming to an end and in truth so is our patience, our energy and our ability to keep it all together. For many of us, Advent has very little impact on our real lives. Perhaps it is because we see the season as simply a ritual to “go through” while we go on with the real world activities. The purpose of Advent fails to touch us because it seems as though the events are totally scripted and we know that all will go well in the end. Mary and Joseph will find a place to stay, although not exactly a five star hotel. Jesus will be born and we will be saved.. Why should we waste our energy reflecting on something that is a known fact.
As people living in a world of confusion, animosity, poverty and terror, we would prefer to spend our time worrying and being anxious about tomorrow. We truly do not know what will be happening from one day to the next and this sets the stage for us to be afraid. What will happen to us, to our children? Will we have enough money to live, to retire, to help our children? Will we be able to live a peaceful life with people of other cultures and religions? Will we ever see a time when we will not have to worry about going into a mall without fear of getting shot?
The story of Christmas tells us that we are not the first to be afraid for our lives, our possessions, our reputations. The Gospel of Matthew tells us that Joseph spent more than one night being anxious and afraid. His wedding plans were spoiled, his fiancé was pregnant, ( not a great thing for a good Jewish family), his reputation and hers was quickly eroding. What should a good man do? Joseph’s plan was to break the engagement and run away. He would wash his hands of the situation and Mary could fend for herself.
God had other plans however. Joseph was visited in a dream by an angel. The message was loud and clear. Do not be afraid. The Lord is with you. We must ask ourselves, would that serve to calm our nervous system today?
Another Gospel character that spent much energy being worried and afraid was King Herod. Herod was very worried about his position in the kingdom of Judea. He was worried to the point of plotting the death of innocent people. Does this sound like a familiar refrain today? Fear can incite irrational violence. Unfortunately for Herod, he was not a man of faith. There was no message guiding him through his anxiety. Instead, he proceeds to carry out his plans of murder.
As we make our final preparations for the coming of Christ into our midst, perhaps we can take a few moments to reflect on our real life situation? What are we worried about, afraid of? Can we see a peaceful Christmas ahead of us? If not, should we not be asking ourselves what we truly believe this feast is all about? If we continue to live our lives in fear and anxiety, what do we believe? Do we remember that the name Jesus means savior. Do we remember that the name Emmanuel means that God is with us. Do we believe that God really loves us and has plans for peace and joy for us? May you all have a most Blessed and Peace-filled Christmas.
Lorette P. Nault