1)Calls to REJOICE and REFORM:
Rejoice: W.C. Watkinson tells of walking with his grandson. They met an older minister who not only looked sad and disgruntled but spoke of how bleak and awful are these days in which we live. He complained as well that he was suffering from a touch of sunstroke. Watkinson’s grandson stood by and listened. After the conversation ended and they had walked a short distance, the boy looked up to his grandpa and said, “Gramps, I hope you never suffer from a sunset!” The child got the words wrong but he got the image right. Many people today suffer from a sunset; they are ambassadors of gloom and despair.
Teilhard de Chardin once said that joy and laughter are the surest signs of the presence of God. Isn’t it a shame that so few facilitate that presence, that so many display a sunset rather than a sunrise.
Reform: “Not long ago, I saw a bumper sticker that said, ‘Houses: everybody should have one before anybody can have two.’ I imagine John the Baptist with that saying on his car if he were driving around in the year 2018.
As he challenged people to prepare for the coming of the Messiah, John the Baptist preached a simple but powerful message. He told people to share. It is not right for some people to have more than they need while others do not have enough to get by. (Reminds me of the saying of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton: “We must all live simply, so that others may simply live.”)
-For all those who in these Christmas days which are near, feel sad or nostalgic, far from their families, in aloneness¼. that the power of their love overcome all these distances and make them feel the universal communion¼
-That we can prepare the celebration of Christmas with realism trying to bring about that “Jesus is born effectively” to our neighbors¼
-That the distance from today to the ideal situation which all dreamers are seeking, that this distance does not lead us to resignation or fatalism, but rather that this distance is overcome in constancy, in faith which doesn’t give up, in the resistance and force to bring near once and again the ideal of the Kingdom¼
-That in these vespers of Christmas the austerity of John the Baptist, the precursor reminds us that sobriety in spending motivated by the desire to share with the most needy is for the poor, good news which announces the actual birth of Jesus¼
Let Us PrayOh God and Father-Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ: while the very affectionate feast of Christmas is coming near, we ask you that you make flower in our lives the best of our own heart, that we may share with our brothers and sisters which surround us, your tenderness, your own love, of which you have made us participants. We ask this through Jesus, your Son, who lives and reigns with you, and with us lives and walks, for ever and ever. Amen.