Difficult to be at a funeral and to say “Merry Christmas.” Difficult to be broke and say “Merry Christmas.” Very hard to say “Merry Christmas in the middle of chemo therapy. Perhaps we think that we are the only ones who are experiencing problems in the middle of what is supposed to be the happiest time of the year. We are not—and we are certainly not the first.
A long time ago Joseph and Mary had to uproot themselves, travel many miles, and then had to spend the night in a stable surrounded by animals. They had no idea of what Merry Christmas was about. They were just doing their best to stay alive with the little resources available. They were doing their best to provide for the new born Baby. We put halos, lights, and pretty clothes on the manger scenes. A visit to the Brownsville Zoo would be more in keeping with the reality of the perfume that adorned the air of the original manger. Joseph and Mary were poor, obviously since doors were closed in their faces. No one had to tell them about hard times. Look at how far we have come. We have managed to launch spacecrafts; talk to the other side of the world in an instant; computers have revolutionized the way we do business. Yet, after 2,000 years we still make war, continue to discriminate, and over half of the world populations goes to bed hungry every night. Progress has never been across the globe. Interestingly that the birth of the Christ Child took place thousands of miles away from here, in a small town that continues to be plagued by injustice—called Holy Land only because of history—but not so “holy” in the violence that is in the hearts of people. Shrines are surrounded by soldiers with loaded guns. Nice to dream of a Silent Night—where all is calm, all is bright—but not as long as there is war.
All is not lost because God isn’t finished with us yet. There is always hope, especially during the Feast Day of Hope—the Nativity of Jesus. Our Lord wasn’t just born once upon a time but continues to be born in the people who open their hearts to Him. A simple step. “Lord Jesus come into my heart—fill me with your love.” Yet, we must make an act of the faith. Jesus will never act against our will. When we do allow Him to take possession of our life, everything changes. That’s the spooky part because many of us are afraid of change. We cannot continue to the “same old”, “same old”. No more fighting at home, no more back stabbing, no more cheating. Our life will have to change, otherwise we cannot claim to have Jesus in our heart.
That’s where peace starts, with each one of us. Many folks scream bad words at the TV when the news is on. The political situation gets us all worked up. The troubles between countries cause paranoia. The majority of us have lots of advice for the world leaders—if they would only listen to us. Tell you a secret, “Nothing in the world will change unless we are willing to change.” With each Christmas comes new hope. The New Year starts without mistakes. Time to look at ourselves in the mirror and ask the question: are we willing to change? Are we ready to start a closer walk with the Lord? If the answer is yes—that’s all that Jesus wants—a crack in the door. A little Baby changed the world when He grew up. He had the courage to do the will of His Father. Do we have the courage to follow His example? Are we willing to love as we are loved? Doesn’t have to be dramatic. Simple stuff that starts at home—just by putting up with each other.
This Christmas can be different to the extent that we are willing to forgive, to trust God more and to be happy with what we have. True happiness is knowing that God lives inside each of us, regardless of our sins.