By Sister Elizabeth Langmead, MHSH President
Psalm 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6 ;
God comes among us in total helplessness, dependency and all the ends of the earth will behold the salvation of our God! What a mystery!
Our second reading on Christmas Day from the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us: “In times past, God spoke … through the prophets….” Now it’s a new day and God speaks to us through Jesus – the Word made flesh; the very imprint of God. The Word that John reminds us is God – the Word became flesh and dwells among us.
The Savior of the World – the Prince of Peace – the Light of the World – a baby! Recently I was with some of my family and marveled as I watched my nieces, nephews and their spouses tend to their babies. Besides wondering how quickly the years have passed, I was filled with gratitude and tenderness as those parents tended to the vulnerability, the dependency, the preciousness of their little ones. How awesome that our God chose to come to us by becoming one of us! Doesn’t that just turn everything upside down?
The heart of God bursts forth to come and be among us – to be the true Light that enlightens everyone, and the darkness will never overcome it. What a radical hope is ours! Can we this Christmas accept the Word within us and among us – the Word around us that continues to depend on us to be light in a world that often seems to be on the brink of being overcome by darkness? Can we be light in the darkness of injustice, of poverty, of mental illness, of broken relationships, of war, of our own shortcomings and failures?
We gather this Christmas fed by the hope and promise of our Advent waiting and longing. With mercy and in joy, may we truly awake to a new dawn of a promise fulfilled – a Love so deep that it cannot be contained and must dwell among us and be a Light to all peoples. Can we accept the gift? Can we embrace the Light of the World and the promise that the Light will fill us and be with and among us always?
What might it look like as we gather with others this Christmas and into the New Year if we truly accept the gift given us – the gift of God’s very self to share with all the world and to recognize in all our sisters and brothers; the gift we have received through the promise of God’s Spirit poured out on all flesh?
It is the Spirit that frees and empowers each of us to take up the challenge offered us by Howard Thurman (1899-1981), an African American theologian, educator and civil rights leader in his reflection, The Work of Christmas, found below:
“When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.”
Thank you from your sisters, the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart, for joining with us in our efforts to give birth daily to the Reign of God and “to make music in the heart,” especially this Christmas as we sing: Glory to God in the highest and on earth PEACE!