Celebrate the Season of Christ
We often see signs at football games or other large gatherings that say “John 3:16.” For Catholics, many of us don’t know the scriptures well enough to know what that means and so we just walk away. But it is one of my favorite passages in the bible. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
That is the true message of Christmas. God loved us so much that he became one of us to show the way through this life and into eternal life. He wanted us to know firsthand that he understands what it means to be a human and he loves us completely and absolutely. When we celebrate Christmas it is this profound message that we celebrate.
I do not know about you but it is sometimes hard to remain focused on that message. With all the cards to write, the parties to attend or arrange, and the gifts to get, it can be all a little overwhelming at times. Yet I still love this Christmas season. Despite the efforts of secular society to remove “Christ” from “Christmas” and say things like “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings” instead of “Merry Christmas,” I am inspired by so many who faithfully remain focused.
A friend of mine recently called me and shared with me how important this “Season of Christ” is for him and his family; they call all those important to them and wish them God’s blessings in a personal way. Wow! I was deeply touched with the personal call and the warm greetings. He had me focused back on Christ again.
So I wonder, could we all focus back on Christ for the rest of this “Season of Christ.” My hope for all of us is to return Christ back to the center, not just in greetings but in our hearts. And every day we spend a few moments reflecting on the powerful message of Christ that loves us now just the way are. Welcome back to the real Season of Christ.
I cannot close this reflection without mentioning a great hero of mine: Nelson Mandela. His death once again reminded me of the importance of “forgiveness” and “reconciliation.” When Mandela was freed from prison he could have easily focused revenge upon those who supported apartheid in South Africa. Instead, he committed the rest of his life to reconciliation for his whole country caught in the violence of racial hatred. He spearheaded a peaceful transition to a multiracial democracy and reconciliation for a wounded nation on all sides. I hope you can take a few moments this week to read a little about him and his deep faith that motivated him to this viewpoint and commitment for life. May he rest in peace!