Can we still rejoice for the birth of Jesus?

TORONTO – This Christmas 2023 we ask ourselves: “what does it mean to celebrate the birth of Jesus today ?“. In a world soiled by the blood of slaughtered children, by the hatred that sows death and destruction in Israel,in Palestine, in Ukraine, in Africa, in Asia and in other parts of the world; can we really rejoice in the birth of Jesus?

Today, the Word of the Lord helps us to grasp the meaning of living the incarnation of Jesus in the faith and mystery of God’s love, offering us the image and gift of light. But what kind of light is it? It is the light of Christ that guides us while we are in the dark, and “walk in, the darkness”. Yes, even if the darkness of pain, sin, violence, misery and grieving, envelop us, we can overcome these dark moments by looking towards the splendor of the light that comes from the Child of Bethlehem and that illuminates the darkness in the world and in our lives. In fact, the prophet Isaiah writes – the man who walks in darkness “has seen a great light”.

Ultimately, the splendor of Christ reminds us that we are women and men created to bring light; to illuminate with our evangelical lives those who have fallen into the abyss of darkness; to be in and like Christ, light of humanity, light of our families, workplaces, meeting places, streets, bars, parishes…

The light of Christ always gives joy and peace. Joy and peace are the gifts of Jesus’ Christmas, but also the interior attitude with which we must live to overcome the darkness of the world and celebrate the incarnation of the Lord every day.

The author Charles Dickens in in his story of A Christmas Carol, writes: «I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it with me all the year round». In fact, experiencing Christmas every day means experiencing the joy and peace that God gives to everyone, just as the shepherds, who prostrated themselves and adored the Child that Mary cradled in her arms on the first Christmas.

But can all this put an end to wars; can it restore peace, justice and forgiveness? Can the joy and peace of Jesus govern and change the fate of the world? Certainly! Isaiah says that, the – Word of God, in fact, presents the Child Jesus as the Prince of that peace which “will have no end” (Is 9, 5-6).

We must sow this peace and build on it in our daily lives, letting our hearts be touched, and our lives changed, by the light of the Child Jesus, denying violence, arrogance, greed for success, power, money and living as the apostle Paul did, with «sobriety, justice and piety».

On this day, hope for the strength to fight for a more humane world is reborn in our hearts; the joy of love, forgiveness and peace is reborn in us because the Child of Bethlehem, once again repeats to each and every one of us with love: “Do not be afraid, do not be afraid because I was born for you, I am your Savior, I am true joy and true peace. Welcome me into your lives and let me love you, let me warm your cold and frightened hearts.”

Francesco Armenti, Deacon

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