Earlier, one of our younger brothers asked me if I had an article to publish for the blog, because he noticed that I wrote several articles this week. I told him that none of my current articles were Christmas material, to which the young brother asked me for permission to read my articles and determine for himself if any were good Christmas material. Just a few minutes ago, he approached me and said, “You’re right, none of these articles is Christmas material.”
I was very touched by his interest in publishing a Christmas article written by me, given the fact that he is a much better writer than I am and a lot smarter, he can probably write a better article.
Suddenly, the thought hit me, “There is a dimension of Christmas that is rarely mentioned.” During the Christmas season, we write beautiful cards and letters wishing our loved ones a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, whatever the custom in your family may be. We inject adrenaline into the household with shopping, travel plans or preparations to welcome friends and loved ones for the holidays.
When we go to Church, be it Midnight Mass or on Christmas Day, we hear beautiful sermons about the birth of Jesus, God’s love for humanity and how Christmas sets the stage for the Cross. Let’s not forget that Jesus was a child born with a price on his head. The Holy Family did not travel to Egypt to visit the great pyramids. The Egyptians and the Canaanites were not the best of neighbors.
Mary and Joseph pick up and go to Egypt out of love for their son. They wanted to protect him from Herod’s insecurities, which would have concluded in murdering the child along with the rest of the innocents at the time.
The more that I thought about these points and the fact that the young brother was so interested in publishing one of my articles, rather than using a piece of his own exemplary writing, spoke to me about the undercurrent of Christmas. It is the undercurrent of Christmas that truly counts. That undercurrent is love.
Just as an undercurrent draws in everything that gets close, so too does the love that is born at Christmas. Brother wanted to publish one of my articles, not because I’m the best writer in the world. We all know that’s not true. He wanted to publish one of my articles because of love. He loves his superior and his brother. He rejoices when others learn from his superior’s writings and when they praise what they read.
In a simple request, Brother taught me that the Christmas spirit is truly the Love of God breaking into human history and radiating through every century, every culture and every human being to this day. Christmas is not simply a happy holiday, it’s a celebration of generous love. We keep Christmas alive not only when we give gifts, welcome guests or visit others. Those are just starters. Once the gifts are unwrapped and the greetings are over, what’s there besides food?
There is the love of God that has broken into our lives and is here to stay. God’s love is not a feeling, but a living being whom the Father calls “Son.” The Son of God wants to show all men that they are loved, not just give them a warm Christmas hug and a gift. He wants to gaze into the eyes of our neighbor, through our eyes and say, “There is something special about you that I believe must be shared with the rest of the world.”
This faith in the giftedness of the brother is the highest expression of love on this side of Heaven. It makes the birth of Christ closer to home, not as a story of long long ago in another galaxy far far away, as they say in Star Wars. No, the birth of Christ is God saying to man, “You are special and I will prove it, by sharing in your humanity and lifting you up to my divinity.”
Brother’s request for an article was a subtle message that told me, “You’re special to me.” This is the true message that the eternal Word of God says to mankind on Christmas morning.