But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people. (Luke 2:10)
One Christmas morning years ago, a family with young children woke up before dawn and hurried downstairs to see all of the gifts shimmering under the tree. They started with the stockings that hung on the fireplace, as was their tradition. Three were stuffed to overflowing. The mom’s was empty; her husband didn’t think to fill it.
Utter horror contorted the children’s faces. They never forgot that Christmas when their mom was forgotten — the one who had been busy for weeks doing all of the baking, cooking, decorating, shopping, planning, wrapping and sending Christmas cards.
It’s Christmas Day. Whom have we forgotten? Whom have we refused to see, to acknowledge and to serve, not just during Advent, but in the comings and goings of our everyday life? Which child lays his head against the hard earth, with no crib for a bed? Which mother rejoices over the birth of her son or daughter with no way to protect or care for him or her? Who is cold against the night?
Whatever gift we bring to the Christ child we bring to the world. If we live our faith out loud with deliberate, full-throttle love and compassion, then Christ will be born in us anew and into the world afresh. God never forgets any of us.
Pay attention to the Holy Spirit’s nudges as you see the strangers around you. Bring some joy to a stranger through striking up a conversation in the checkout line or as you wait for a cup of coffee. Initiating positive interactions not only will lift your spirits, but also raise theirs. Encourage children to talk to someone
new at school. At church, seek out a visitor or someone with whom you’ve rarely spoken.
Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all Creation. Let us pray that we may see Jesus in all that is visible, in all people and throughout the earth, and forget no one or nothing He has made. Amen