Grace to you!
From the gospel of Luke 1:57-66, we hear the story of the birth of John the Baptist who was the forerunner of Jesus. I wanted to draw from the story another lesson on the right disposition as we celebrate the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The birth of John the Baptist reveals many things. Among them include: God’s power and mercy are real. The fact that Elizabeth conceived when she was way beyond the age of Childbirth not by in vitro-fertilization or any other morally questionable artificial ways, prove that with God all things are possible.
You have to believe this as you prepare to celebrate the birthday of Jesus: There is nothing, nothing in your life or about you that is so impossible an obstacle that God cannot change. You only need to hand it over to God and let Him be in charge. God will surprise you with His power and mercy.
There is no need for us to doubt God. Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, doubted God and was made dumb until the time the promised was fulfilled. Doubt in our relationship with God leads to dumbness, which for me is the “inability to see and declare the goodness and good news of the Lord among others.” Maybe that’s why we have many Christians today who seem afraid to express the joy of the Lord.
More importantly though, may I share another significant aspect of the story in Luke 1:57-66. It has to do with the community. Those who witnessed the blessings of the Lord in the family of Elizabeth and Zechariah, the parents of John the Baptist, the bible says “(They) heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her” (Lk 1:58).
Christmas is a time to share in one another’s joy. Joy shared, they say, is joy multiplied. Christmas shouldn’t be a time to go to court or to sue your brother and/or sister over the family inheritance.
The key message from the first witnesses of Christmas, the shepherds and the angels was; “Peace to people of goodwill. Peace to the earth.” Jesus, the one whose birthday we are to celebrate on Christmas day is known as the Prince of Peace. Let us prepare for Christmas by rejoicing with others. Bury the hatchet and rejoice! Celebrate joy.
I understand sometimes envy may arise because one’s family may not have been materially blessed as a neighbor. Maybe your neighbor could afford the best Christmas trees and decorations. Maybe they have parties with large families coming around their home driving in flashy and expensive cars. Maybe they have what is your dream achievement, but you can’t have it now?
Instead of feeling bad for them, rejoice with them. Thank God for their blessings because the celebration of the birthday of Jesus is the celebration of God’s blessings for our neighbors and for us. By rejoicing with them, you are spiritually sowing the seed for your own blessing. God loves a heart that shares in the joys of others. That heart attracts favors too.
So, do you feel bad that you couldn’t be or fulfill what you desire for Christmas whereas your sibling, friend, or neighbor has done so? Make the effort to thank God for those people; and if opportunities arise, rejoice with them. That is the spirit of Christmas. Remember, the best blessing ever is to be at peace with God.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[December 23: Mal 3:1-4, 23-24; Lk 1:57-66]
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.