A time to reset our sights

25 December 2021, Christmas Year C

What a year it has been as the pandemic raged across the world for a second year. It’s been a hard time in so many ways. But now, at last, it’s Christmas and we gather to give thanks for the many graces and blessings in our lives, despite the hard times, and to rejoice in the greatest gift of all, Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, and our world and our destiny forever changed.

The great Christian thinker of the 4th century, Athanasius, with stunning simplicity summed up what that event meant for each and every one of us, a mystery so wonderful that we hardly dare believe it: He, the Son of God, became human that we might become divine!  He, truly and fully God, the eternal Word, through whom all things were made, became human, one like us in all things but sin. In becoming human he established a forevermore communion between the human and divine.

With his becoming human, our lives and our destiny were radically and forever changed. Eternal life in the bosom of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – in communion with each other; that is our destiny.

There are many things that the pandemic has brought home to us, but perhaps the most important of all is the acute realisation of our need and our longing for communion. Lockdowns, social distancing requirements, and restrictions on our gathering with family and friends have cost us dearly. How we have longed to share a meal. How we have longed for human touch and physical expressions of friendship, affection and love. The pandemic has highlighted that we are hard-wired for connection, communication, and community.

But we are hard-wired not just for connection with each other. We are hard-wired for connection with the One who loved us into being and created us for communion.

At Christmas we celebrate the gift of God’s communion with us.

In establishing that communion, he came, not with pomp and majesty befitting a king, but very humbly, helpless and vulnerable as a new-born babe, to a couple far away from home and family, in a foreign place, alone, amidst strangers, in a smelly stable, with a manger for a cradle.

This babe’s birth changed everything. It is meant to change us! It urges us to ponder these things in our hearts, as she, his young mother, did. It beckons us to reassess our values, our aspirations, the way we live our lives, how we invest our time, what we treasure, and where we place our hopes.

The pandemic has prompted us to reassess our priorities. But much more, Christmas prompts us to reset our sights on the love that has been given to us and to give of ourselves in ever greater love and greater care for one another and for our suffering world.

May you find time to ponder these things this Christmas. And may the blessings of joy and peace abide in you throughout the year.

Anne Hunt

© Majellan Media 2021