Let us rest in the hope of Jesus’ birth. Christmas has come and gone, but the journey of the Holy Family has just begun.
I recently read somewhere that we, as a nation, are really good at anticipating but less so at enjoying a moment and sitting in the enjoyment of it for an extended period. We are really good at “hyping up” Christmas. I myself started listening to Christmas music the week before Thanksgiving. We’re good at anticipating the coming of Jesus through advent. I longed for the coming of Jesus through my prayers, through the lighting of candles every Sunday of advent, through reading His word, and attending mass. I got excited buying gifts for my family members, my friends, my husband. I took my time wrapping the gifts and placing them delicately under the tree. I took pride in our festive apartment decorations. All this is GOOD. Really good. We had a wonderful advent. God revealed some amazing, necessary things to me during this time. We had a joyful Christmas too. And now we are two days out from Christmas. Our decorations have already been taken down and we have finished our advent candles. And yet, Mary and Joseph have just began their journey as the caretakers of Jesus. As his beloved parents.
Mary faces many trials ahead as she follows her son, witnesses his teachings, and experiences his pain alongside him. King Herod has started his massacre of children in attempt to kill Jesus. These things are significant and it’s important to remember them too. It’s important to remember the birth of the newborn king, but it is also important to remember all that is to come for Jesus and for us. All that he is going to do for us. All that God is about to sacrifice for us. All that God is going to do in our lives. As our year ends, we can mourn the thousands of lives lost to the pandemic just as we remember the many souls lost due to king Herod’s reign. We can share this collective agony, we can remember and release this pain together as we head into the new year.
Let us hold onto the miracle of Christmas a little bit longer. Just to taste it on our tongue for a moment more. The intertwining feelings of peace, joy, faith, hope, certainty, and love that God has given us. Let them dance inside us and prepare our hearts for the next year. Let us cling to the hope that baby Jesus brings. Let us cling to the hope that Joseph brings as he listens to the angel and flees to Egypt, obedient in his faith. Let us cling to the hope that Mary brings as she nurses Jesus, raises him, and keeps him alive.
The year is ending. It’s easy to be discouraged after all of the events we’ve witnessed over the past two years. But let us be hopeful. Dare I say, let us get our hopes up. Let us declare upon the next year the goodness that Christmas brings. Let us spread that goodness throughout the whole year.
As we start to create our New Year’s Resolutions, our dreams for the coming year, keep in mind the intentions we want to bring forth. There’s many things we may want to change about ourselves, things we want to do differently next year. Or things that we have absolutely no control over that we want to change. Things we are agonizingly waiting for. Offer those up to the Father. Open yourself up to Him as you create your intentions for the New Year in hopeful surrender.
Set the worries of this world aside, and allow yourself to soar like a bird on the wind. Listen to the whispers of your Creator calling gently to you, inviting you to remember that just as the body needs food, so too your soul needs to be nourished.