You will be reading this on Christmas, but I am writing it on Friday, December 16th. Tomorrow, the 17th, is a turning point in the preparation for Christmas. Tomorrow, the Mass is not that of the Saturday of the third week of Advent, it is the Mass of December 17th, and so the final countdown begins.
For me, Christmas is a time of mystery and presence. It comes just after the shortest day of the year when the day light is all too brief. It comes as the days begin to lengthen, and in the transition from greater darkness to even more light, I see mystery. The greatest mystery of course is that in the fullness of time, when all was dark and the world was in trouble, the Father sent His beloved son, the WORD made flesh, to not only become one of us, but also to enter all that is human and redeem it. One school of theological thought says that it was enough for Jesus just to be born for us to be saved. But the dominant position is that Jesus had to suffer and die for us to be saved. My favorite Christmas carol, I Wonder as I Wander, speaks to this mysterious connection between life and death.
So when you think of Christmas this year, meditate on this excerpt from the poem ‘The House of Christmas’ by G.K. Chesterton…
“To an open house in the evening Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.”