The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas), December 25, 2022
[Note: The Scriptures you hear proclaimed today will vary, depending upon which liturgy you attend. Here I list the readings for the Liturgy on Christmas Day. The reflection below is applicable with any of the readings.]
Isaiah 52:7-10 Hebrews 1:1-6 John 1:1-18
Recently, a good friend who happens to be a Sister of the Humility of Mary, shared that she had given a retreat for a number of sisters from another religious congregation. That group is known as the Sisters of the Incarnate Word. Their title, “Incarnate Word” refers to their devotion to the person of Jesus Christ, The Word Made Flesh, who dwelt amongst us. Their welcome statement declares: “…we live each day in an attitude of contemplation and service, with the desire to continue to be God’s human face today. Our hope is that you too will share our passion for God’s love in our world…”
My friend explained that she subtitled her retreat (borrowing a line from Charles Dickens): “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” (This congregation, like all religious congregations faces many challenges in the present moment.) Part of her mission in giving the retreat was to help the Sisters of the Incarnate Word realize that they had done many great things, and accomplished many wonderful goals in their history as a congregation. They had contributed mightily to building the Reign of God right here on earth. No matter what the future brings, they have helped many people to live the spirit of the “Incarnate Word” in their daily lives. And that legacy will continue.
What a magnificent Christmas story! Jesus Christ, THE INCARNATE WORD, THE WORD MADE FLESH, was with us in person for only a little while on this earth. However, when he moved on to his eternal life, he left us his Spirit, and asked us to acknowledge that he lives within us. We are now charged with the mission to give witness to the Spirit of God in the world today.
The sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation commission and empower us with the Gifts and Fruits of the Spirit to bring Christ’s love to the world around us. And we don’t need to join a religious congregation to do it. Just as the mission of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word will continue into eternity, we have been given the same opportunity - to be God’s hands and feet, eyes and ears and hearts in the world…to represent the Incarnate Word. And so, as we celebrate Christ’s birth in 2022, we can, in our own particular ways, bring those Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit that the world around us most needs…peace, wisdom, reverence, love, hope, understanding, patience, forgiveness, etc. “Joy to the World”. Let us celebrate this glorious day!
May your Christmas and this entire Christmas Season be a time of joy and blessings as you welcome our Savior into your heart once again.
by Bill Miller