Late as usual,
I am hurriedly beginning to send out Christmas Cards. I know that I have managed to send out our school card to our donors, friends and supporters now it’s time to contact family and friends. As I write the cards I ask myself why am I doing this? I do try to keep in contact throughout the year so why are cards so important just at this time. Is it merely a convention?
I do believe there is something deeper or more profound to be discovered as we write out our Christmas greetings. I have a preference for cards that show the Nativity scene rather than those winter landscapes beautiful though they may be. I think it’s because Christmas is about the ‘little one’ whom our creator sent into our world to draw us all back to the author of all life. There are many moments in our Christian calendar that echo this thought but none as poignantly as the new born infant in his Bethlehem crib.
For those of us who have visited the traditional site in Bethlehem the image of the cozy straw filled manger is in contrast to the real manger. It was merely a depression on a rock just deep enough to hold a little water. It was all that humanity could spare but it was enough for the Lord. It was all He needed to set in motion the gargantuan task of our salvation. That little child from his rock bed united creation to the throne of his Father. It was all God needed.
To my little mind Christmas 2020 will be about the unity of God and Mankind and as a consequence the unity of the human family. The cards remind me that we are all one family, and being the youngest of 14 children no one appreciates the diversity of humanity as well as I do. No matter our race or creed this is the moment to celebrate the family bond among the children of God and to appreciate those who express that unity throughout the year.
My thoughts take me beyond immediate family whom I love dearly, to others who have in their unique way made known that bond in Christ. I hope that I have expressed gratitude to individuals but what of organizations such as “Black and Indian Foundation” or “Catholic Extension” and many others who on behalf of their supporters make the love of our Creator and the Christ child a practical reality brought forth by the Holy Spirit.
There are other such groups who have come to my rescue this year and who have asked that they not be named publicly. They are in my small heart as I try to embrace the depth and width of God’s love made visible through a tiny child, in a remote town on a cold dark night.
As I scribble my cards and am pulled towards many other tasks, my inadequate thoughts return to our human family united in Love himself, a share in which I have experienced in these last months. It is my sincere hope that those who receive the cards be reminded of the depth of that love.
The card is not much really but neither was Bethlehem. I pray it will be enough to draw family, friends and humanity closer into that wonder which is “God’s love made visible in Christ Jesus”.
Even if you don’t receive a card from me please know that Christmas has a blessing for you.
Fr. Patrick McGuire