Christmas! An extraordinary feast!
I don’t think there is any other feast that inspires as many celebrations and folk traditions as does Christmas.
Christmas: it is the celebration of a birth, encompassing all the joy, elation and good news that goes with it. This is what the Gospel according to Luke tells us. God goes all out to make sure the shepherds know about the exceptional gift that he is giving to humanity. Once the exuberant choir of angels and dazzling night sky vanish, it is in a newborn infant that the shepherds must discern the humble presence of the Almighty God. What an extraordinary faith experience is asked of them! Thus will it be from then on, throughout every era and for each human being, to discover the gift of God deposited like a seed in the soil of humanity.
Christmas: it is Jesus, who makes God’s existence and presence “manageable” for humankind. In choosing to become human, God wants to draw us closer to him, to respect our liberty, to attract us through the beauty and goodness of his love. God has but one goal: he invites humanity to enter into a communion of life and love with him. In the dim light of Christmas night, the transcendence and closeness of God, the word and the silence, the power and the fragility, the magnificence and the humility of God, all converge in the newborn child lying in the manger.
Christmas: it is Mary and Joseph inviting us to answer the inner-calling of faith as they did when they allowed their lives to be turned upside down by God’s desire to become flesh and dwell among us. They invite us to follow the path of faith, so that our lives will be enlightened and enriched by the Good News of God’s love that Jesus will express so completely through his words and his deeds.
Christmas: it also includes the women and men of goodwill who make God’s glory known by working relentlessly to build a world of peace and justice, a world where human fraternity will be the sign of God’s new world that Jesus came to sow in the heart of humankind.
It is my wish for each and every one of you that the feast of Christmas brings the joy of being ever more closer to God who finds his joy in dwelling among us.
† Jean-Claude Turcotte
Archbishop of Montréal