In the Hymn “Once in David’s Royal City,” there comes this line:
For he is our lifelong pattern: day by day like us he grew; he was little, weak, and helpless; tears and smiles like us he knew: and he feels for all our sadness, and he shares in all our gladness.
“Our lifelong pattern” reminds us that Christmas is far more than a single day can hold. Christmas is the birth and the best of what human nature can grasp – love, truth, understanding and compassion—the basics upon which the whole of our life in this world depends. In the babe of Bethlehem, in the person and words of Jesus of Nazareth, in the graceful strength of his Spirit, we find a new dimension at work in our lives. We discover a goodness stronger than evil, a compassion stronger than selfish striving, and a love stronger than cruelty or hatred. On this day, we celebrate the glad tidings of Christ’s birth and the profound gift of hope he brings to the world.
Can we truly have hope for a more peaceful world? Is change in the human heart really possible? Hope is the single most important ingredient for changing the world, or at least changing our little corner of it. “Hope,” as the writer Jim Wallis likes to say, “is believing in spite of the evidence, then watching the evidence change.”
We yearn for an expression of hope that offers a positive, generous, and engaging way of life. We want to belong to a hopeful community which is also committed to grappling honestly with difficult questions and which longs to make the world a better place. Christ is the pattern of that hope, and the Church, when it rises to the call, is a sign and foretaste of what such hope can be in the world.
Wherever you are in your journey of faith this Christmas Eve, do not surrender your hope, no matter how flickering the flame of hope may be within you. Let the glad tidings of Christmas be reborn in you, and then, for his sake, live and share your hope with others.
Merry Christmas my friends,