Good Morning! That’s so genuine and easy to say on a bright, crisp morning. The rising, warm sun can reveal a day with all kinds of promise ahead. It may be more challenging but all the more necessary on the cold, dark, stormy days when the hours ahead may seem bleak, maybe hopeless or frightening.
In the First reading from the Christmas Eve Mass, Isaiah proclaims: “For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her vindication shines forth like the dawn and her victory like a burning torch.” (Isaiah 62: 1) With threats of war, divisiveness that feeds suspicion and too often misplaced anger, stubbornly persistent poverty and racism – sometimes very hidden, sometimes very evident, we need Christmas at least as much in 2017 as “we” did on that first Christmas day.
We greet one another, we celebrate the Son of God fully becoming a human being to always know and dwell with us. We do so as strongly this year as ever because the Lord dwells in our midst as surely as ever. It is an act of faith, an act of hope to celebrate, to welcome Christmas 2017 not because it’s easy, but because we are people of faith, God’s people of faith. Doing so renews perseverance to keep working for peace, to address racism and division by building relationships of trust, to bring the power of Christmas more alive in our world. Or, as Isaiah says, “You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the Lord, a royal diadem held by your God.” (Isaiah 61: 3)
May you and your family be held with the gentle strength and the steadfast love of our God this Christmas Season, this new 2018, and all the days of your lives.