At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of new hope Print
Seeing with Jesus' Eyes
Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017 -- 12:00 AM

When their baby is born, the hearts of many parents beat with the joyful hope that he or she will help to make their home, school, neighborhood, and the world a better place. Like St. John Paul II, they believe that the young are the hope of the future.

Filled with awe

Mary and Joseph were surely filled with awe and wonder when they first saw the Christ Child.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton wrote, "Out of love for us, the mighty hands that created the sun, moon, and stars and hurled them into motion became so tiny and helpless that they could not reach up to touch the noses of the oxen who warmed him with their hayed breath."

Deeply moved by the infant Jesus, Thérèse of Lisieux asked, "Why should we fear God who became a tiny baby?"

Celebrating Christmas every day

During the Christmas season, we celebrate feasts that remind us that Christ was born into a family. These feasts include the Holy Family, the Feast of the Holy Innocents, the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, and Epiphany.

We can fruitfully celebrate the Christmas season by praying the Rosary and reading the Bible or other spiritual reading in prayerful silence.

We can pass on Christ's Christmas love by doing volunteer work, giving to the needy, making and keeping New Year's resolutions, and in other ways. We can call, write, or visit lonely persons or shut-ins.

These Christ-like actions show that our faith is not just a warm glow at Christmas, but a way of following Jesus every day.

During and beyond the Christmas season, as we receive Communion, we can recall that Mary reverently placed the infant Jesus in a manger, a feedbox for animals. This reminds us that Jesus is the Bread of Life who yearns to nourish us with Eucharist and offer us eternal life. We receive Communion to unite our hearts with Jesus and to strengthen us to be Christ to others.

As our Christmas-New Year's resolution, let us resolve to help make the world a better place by continuing to be peacemakers in our home, neighborhood, church, country, and world.

Let us welcome the Christ-child into the crib of our heart with the surprise of the shepherds, the song of the angels, the wonder of the wise men, and the joy of Mary and Joseph at Christmas. May we keep Christ's gift of Christmas peace by sharing it with others every day.

Fr. Donald Lange is a pastor emeritus in the Diocese of Madison.