At the conclusion of another year, our thoughts go back over the months now engulfed in the past. Tempus fugit irreparabile, goes the saying of the wise man: Time flies away and will never return. So many things to be grateful for, so many things to be sorry for. For those who have made the Spiritual Exercise of St Ignatius, the Contemplation to Obtain Divine Love at the conclusion of the retreat is a very appropriate meditation on this day, passing in review all that we have received from Divine Providence, in so many ways and from so many people.
Let us also be mindful to give thanks for the crosses. We have all had many this year, some of them heavy, some from the most unexpected directions and the most unlikely people. Let us seek to see the loving hand of Divine Providence behind it all, and let us wish well to all. True Christians do not bear a grudge, they love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them.
In our contemplation of the mystery of Christmas, we are reminded that there were essentially three kinds of people in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. Most of them cared not about the event. Either they refused hospitality to the Mother of the Lord, or when they heard of the newborn Babe through the Shepherds, they did not feel concerned and made no effort to go and find out more. They lost the grace of the ages, and their neglect may have been fatal to their souls.
The second group are the shepherds, those hard-working men who kept watch over their flock and who were favoured to be the first to know about the long desired Messiah – how blessed they were! They spent a fair amount of time at the crib, and after their devotions, they went and told the others, taking with them an unforgettable joy.
Finally, there are Mary and Joseph, blessed to not only witness they event, but also to stay there, and not leave. Religious souls are blessed to have that role of living in the same house as the Word Incarnate in the Holy Eucharist. In that way, everyday is Christmas. Emmanuel, God with us, is in our midst. May He radiate HIs presence from here to one and all.
To Him be glory forever!