Written by Winston Elliott III
"The Jesus who makes everything OK for everyone is a phantom, a dream, not a real figure. The Jesus of the Gospels is certainly not convenient for us. But it is precisely in this way that he answers the deepest question of our existence, which--whether we want to or not--keeps us on the lookout for God, for a gratification that is limitless, for the infinite. We must again set out on the way to this real Jesus."--Benedict XVI
The twelve days of Christmas from December 25th through Epiphany on January 6th are a time of year when many of us are celebrating the birth of Jesus with great joy. A time of families reunited, gift and gratitude.
For others of us this is a time of heightened pain and struggle. We may be among the lost, the lonely and the broken. Praying for the love of God to fill our hearts for they are dark and empty. Come Lord Jesus, warm my heart with your love.
We may be mourning the loss of loved ones. Their absence is more sharply felt in a time when we most desire to heal our souls with the comfort of their loving embrace. A gentle touch, a kiss, a kind word which cannot be shared cuts like a knife into our wounded hearts. Come Lord Jesus, heal my heart with your love.
Perhaps we are struggling with financial hardship and despair over what the new year will bring. We have responsibilities to provide for our families and to meet our obligations but we lack control over our situation. Come Lord Jesus, take away my fear.
Our Father in heaven sent his only Son to us so that we may be healed by his love. He should have been welcomed with a warm embrace, instead he was spat upon. Jesus should have been protected by those he loved, but he was betrayed and abandoned by those closest to him. He was neither wealthy or powerful in the worldly sense. The Father knew this was how his beloved Son would be treated and still he sent Him to us. Why did the Son open himself up to this much pain? Could there be a bigger burden than to take on all of the sin of world?
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." Our Lord loves us so completely that he allowed his Son to suffer and die for us. This is an inconvenient truth. It is heart warming to think of the divine infant lying in a manger. But, we must be ever mindful that his purpose was to reconcile us with the Father. He chose to suffer for us so that we may find love eternal.
Lord Jesus, in our suffering, in our pain, in our fear give us the grace to open our hearts to you. For if we join our hearts with yours we may suffer but never will we be alone. We will be comforted and we will find hope. Father in heaven thank you for the gift of your Son. Mother Mary, help us to walk the path to the real Jesus. Amen.