The Gift of Joy
At this time of year, we get caught up in the scramble of buying gifts, baking cookies, attending parties, and lighting up our homes with festive decorations. It’s all part of the joy of preparing for Christmas. It’s also part of the stress that comes on top of our increasingly busy day-to-day lives. So let’s take a breather and consider a different approach.
Instead of spending much of our time and energy on the material preparations for Christmas, let’s devote ourselves to our spiritual preparations for what is meant to be a season of great joy. Our Blessed Mother shows us the way. After all, the Word became flesh beginning in Mary’s womb, with the Son of God taking his human nature from his mother.
Carrying Jesus within her, Mary shared the hope and joy of salvation as the living Christ beamed through her faith and charity. We can do the same as we prepare to celebrate the first coming of our Savior through Mary. The hope and joy of salvation can be alive within us, just as it was in Mary, when we say yes to God’s call to share his love through our faith and charity. In doing so, we also renew our expectation and preparation for our Savior’s Second Coming.
With no stain of sin to impede Mary, the love of God grew inside her each day. Like Mary did, let us cherish the love of God that is inside us. Let’s cleanse ourselves through penance and reconciliation so that our Lord’s love can grow unimpeded within us by way of the Holy Spirit. As we replenish ourselves with our Lord’s gift of the Eucharist, we are united with the body, blood, soul, and divinity of our Lord. In other words, we carry Jesus within us as he takes on our human nature.
Together with Jesus, we can share the hope and joy of salvation by the way we live and treat one another, especially those who suffer and are in great need of compassion. By living our faith, the love of God becomes flesh and dwells among us. By our acts of charity, we spread God’s love, continuing our Lord’s mission of mercy. All of this is God’s Christmas gift to us so that when Jesus Christ comes again, we will have eternal joy in heaven.