Grace to you!
We continue to reflect on the right disposition in anticipation of the birthday of the Lord. We draw a lesson from the encounter between Mary, the Mother of the Lord, and Elizabeth, (the mother of John the Baptist).
The meeting of these two is recorded in Luke 1:39-45. It’s a beautiful read in preparation for the Lord’s birthday.
After the message of the angel to Mary about her would-be-role as the Mother of Jesus the Savior, she hurried in haste to visit Elizabeth her relative. The angel had also intimated that Elizabeth was already six months pregnant. The journey from Nazareth (where Mary was) to Judea (Elizabeth’s location) was about 70 miles through a hilly and rocky road. Mary was going to be with her relative, to serve her needs as she got closer to delivery. Mary’s gesture revealed a heart of service.
Christmas is a time to render service. It’s a time to reach out to others. The good news we have that Christ is born is a news which must inspire us to walk out of our self-centeredness and step out of our comfort zone so as to help others. I bet there could be many around our home who need someone to pay them a visit; someone to say to them (or show them) “I care”; someone to lighten their burden; someone to help and not hinder.
The right disposition to Christmas is evangelistic—“Go out and proclaim the good news.” You remember we are to do so not only by our words. Sometimes words aren’t possible or necessary. Our witness of life is key. St. Francis of Assisi was spot-on when he advised: “Preach all the time. If necessary, use words.”
The secret of the massive impact Saint Theresa of Calcutta had in the world was by the witness of life. The Lord tells us that our light should shine before others so seeing our good works, they will glorify God (Mt 5:16). As the Christmas lights beam through our homes and yards at night, so may our life shine as rays of hope, peace, joy and excitement for a wounded heart and a wounded world.
Secondly, Christmas is a time to readily validate others. Never put them down. The right disposition to Christmas is to validate others; to recognize the good wherever and whenever we find it. There is good in every person and in every society. Unless we look for it or are open to see it, we may not recognize it, even when it glares at us. Be conscious to be positive-minded so you can recognize the good when it appears.
The meeting of Mary and Elizabeth brought two people together. They were two different age groups. Mary was a teenager in comparison to Elizabeth who could have been way above fifty-five years. Elizabeth was the wife of the high priest and Mary was simply a child without any elitist portfolio. Elizabeth ordinarily could have felt she deserved more attention; after all, Mary came to render her service. Yet she was open to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Goodness, and validated what she saw by acknowledging the great blessings God has given to Mary. Inspired by the Holy Spirit she acclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why is this granted me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? . . . And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” (Lk 1:42-45).
Know this: By validating others, it doesn’t make us less or diminish our identity or our own gifts. Instead, it makes one a messenger of the good news and a ready heart to receive the Lord and His numerous blessings. Praising what is good in others makes us equipped for the good as it comes to us.
So, as we prepare to celebrate the birthday of the Lord, let us be serviceable, reach out to others in need. Likewise, let us validate people; appreciate the good wherever we find it.
Have you validated people around you recently? Did you notice that needy person in your community who may need a simple gesture of kindness?
God love you. God bless you!
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[December 22: Sg 2:8-14 or Zeph 3:14-18a; Lk 1:39-45]
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.