December 18, 2009


A holy day has dawned that knows no sunset

“To the thirst for meaning and value so characteristic of today’s world, to the search for prosperity and peace that marks the lives of all mankind, to the hopes of the poor: Christ—true God and true Man—responds with his Nativity. Neither individuals nor nations should be afraid to recognize and welcome him: with him “a shining light” brightens the horizon of humanity; in him ‘a holy day’ dawns that knows no sunset.”
- Pope Benedict XVI, Urbi et Orbi Message, Christmas 2007

Christ is born again, bringing hope for all, and we rejoice.

At the time of year that is naturally darkest, he brings inextinguishable light. At a time when many are tempted to believe in the absence of God, he becomes present once again and always.

In spite of all the noise and distractions of our commercialized Christmas, he appears again—quietly, unobtrusively, and with all the remoteness and simplicity of the first Nativity. Angels sing again. (Are we listening?) Shepherds pay him homage, and the wise men and women of our day seek him still. (Are we among them?)

Christ is born again, and the weary world is renewed. He brings hope for the poor. He brings peace for warring peoples. He brings prosperity to economies ruined by greed and

irresponsibility. He brings “a shining light” into all the dark corners of our world.

Christ is born again, and our heavy hearts are lightened. The burdens we carry—fear and anxiety, guilt and sin—are lifted by his coming again. “Be not afraid,” he tells us, and we are reassured. “Trust in me,” he says, “your sins are forgiven,” and we are consoled.

The truth which makes us free has enlightened our minds and hearts once again this Christmas. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands” (1 Jn 1:1-3) is Christ born again this Christmas. Come, let us adore him.

All year long, we worry and we struggle and we argue. At Christmas time, we are invited to give it up, to “let go and let God,” to trust that all our troubles are truly in God’s hands.

God-is-with-us, Emmanuel, has come into our lives—as he does every day through the mystery of the Eucharist—to bring us peace. Why don’t we let him?

Christmas is the time of year when we remember God’s goodness to us. The gifts we receive are the faintest reminders of the Gift that Christ is to each of us. The Christmas carols we sing are merely echoes of the angels’ song, “Peace on earth. Good will toward all.” The bright colors and the Christmas lights pale in comparison to the shining star that has brightened the horizon of humanity for all time.

If we couldn’t celebrate Christmas, we might well go mad. Our world would certainly be darker and more depressing. Where would we place our hope? In government? In Wall Street or Hollywood? Our prospects would be dim indeed.

No, we find our hope in a little child placed in a manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes. His blessed mother, Mary, and his faithful guardian, the good steward Joseph, attend to him lovingly. Poor shepherds, animals and mysterious strangers are his companions. The heavens rejoice and the Earth resounds with hope.

What a wonderful day this is. How unlike most days! Today, a holy day has dawned that knows no sunset. Let us rejoice and be glad. Let us welcome the child Jesus into our hearts and our homes—today and every day.

May the joys of the Christmas season fill your hearts with gladness. May you find holiness and hope this Christmas. And may the shining light of Christ bring prosperity and peace to you, and to our troubled world, this Christmas and throughout the New Year.

Merry Christmas!

—Daniel Conway

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