Grace to you!
Yesterday, I began to share some thoughts on what I consider the right disposition in preparation for the celebration of the birthday of Jesus Christ, our Lord. I talked about the necessity of believing God’s Word and promise in our lives. It’s a blessing to trust Emmanuel—God with us.
I would love to share another disposition I consider crucial in preparation for the nativity celebration. It is a life of gratitude.
The birthday of Jesus Christ, what we observe on the day called Christmas is, according to our Church tradition, the celebration of one of the two most important events in human history. The second is the death and resurrection of Jesus, which we celebrate during Easter.
Christmas is also about the celebration of a Person—Jesus Christ, our Savior, the Messiah and the Lord and God. His birth is the Incarnation (God becoming man) without which the death and resurrection would not have been. Thus, Christmas is also a great celebration of the birth of the redemption of creation.
For years, we know history has been radically shaped in many ways because of the birth of the Jesus. Hence, among many parts of the world, specifically those using the Julian and Gregorian Calendar, years are numbered in AD--Anno Domini; meaning, the Year of the Lord (Jesus) and BC, meaning Before Christ. Granted some object to this numbering, yet it does not make less the reality that Jesus Christ has impacted the world in ways no other person in history has. For us believers, he is the Lord of the universe; and in his birth, there is hope for humanity.
Since Christmas is the celebration of one of two most important events in the life of the Church and the transformation of world history and culture in Christ—the sanctification that gives us salvation, grace and uncountable blessings—isn’t it proper that we approach the celebration with a life of gratitude?
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who being the Mother of the Child was the first herald of “Christmas,” responded to the message of Elizabeth with a song of gratitude, known by the Church as the Magnificat. She thanked God for His blessings, choice and grace to a humble soul like hers.
Let us prepare for Christmas with a life of gratitude. There is so much to thank God for as the year comes to an end: Thank God for the gift of life, family and friends, etc. Let us also express gratitude to all who have come our way; let us show them we care with gifts and prayers.
Gratitude to our workers and employees wouldn’t be a bad idea. Gratitude to all who help us in one way or another in those little things, without which we won’t be as comfortable as we are. They include the gardener who tidies our yard; the dry cleaner who cleans our clothes; the waitress who serves us at the restaurant; the policeman who protects our cities; the person who delivers our meals; or our neighbor who says “hello” with a smile, etc. Little acts of gratitude could be a sign we are disposed to celebrate the greatest event in our lives as believers.
So, if you haven’t extended a handshake to someone you should, doing so today won’t be a bad idea.
On that note of gratitude, may I also thank you for reading this.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[December 21: Sg 2:8-14 or Zeph 3:14-18a; Lk 1:46-56]
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations this Advent Season.