Sr. Prisca Ovat, MMM Kenya 20.12.2021
Several generations have passed, yet Christmas remains. Our faith in the divine incarnation remains alive and even stronger than the time of this original event. Why do we have to go through this every year? Would it be appropriate to say it is due to its woven bling (cards, lights, trees, Santa Claus, travelling and partying)? Are there still more cherished values to Christmas? Beyond provoked personal answers, a fact remains evident to us Christians. The nativity story is God’s engrained glory and memory in human history. Hence, we approach this mystery not with slippery but bravery hope.
The Prophet rings the message to our ears: Make ready the way of the Lord! (Is 40:13)
To make ready infers preparation. It implies having a hint of what or who is to come, for this (in)directly determines the preparation. However, this is not always the situation. Some guests take us by huge surprise. At Christmas, the surprise is in the revelation. It is a surprise that the one to expect is the LORD. To this end, the appropriate readiness takes the form of physical and spiritual preparedness. What we make ready is all that we have and are so that God lowers our mountains and exults our valleys.
And the Angel said; Do not be afraid, Mary! (Luke 1:30)
In whichever form or from whatever origin, fear can cripple. The crippleness aggravates when the fear seems unexplainable. Where fear dominates, life is stationery. Yet, our Being remains forever subjected to an unforeseen force greater than we can fathom. The Covid pandemic has rid the world of its desired freedom. Greater still are other pandemic forms yet to receive due attention, especially in less developed countries – violence against women and children, insecurity, and poverty. Those with first-hand experience of these situations live in hope, awaiting the incarnation of a Redeemer to conquer their fear. So, the Angel-Mary encounter becomes our comforter. Who would not overcome fear in such a holy encounter? Christmas mirrors that holy encounter, assuring us of God’s closeness even when all else falls apart.
The wise men followed the star to worship Him! (Matt 2:2)
Theirs was a journey, which began in great joy, but was almost truncated by the king’s interception. As the year breaks like the dawn, we set out, make resolutions and plans, and wish for success. The nature of the motives (pure or ulterior), only God can determine. But if the Lord does not build the house, do the builders not labour in vain (Ps. 127:1)? The wise men allowed themselves to be led by God through the star to God. Alas! They experienced a resounding joy, having accomplished their mission. The lesson is simple: by its very nature, the activities of Christmas ought to be from God, with God, through God and to God. And in all these, we do not walk alone but with and for humanity – our neighbours.