Christmas is a season of joy, peace and goodwill. The angels sang cheerfully on Christmas day, ‘Gloria in excelsis Deo et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis…’ (Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to people of good will…’ (Luke 2:14). There are many reasons to sing with the angels and to rejoice and be glad at Christmas:
1. Christmas reminds us of the saving act of God who desires to save us through Jesus Christ (John 3:16).
2. In the birth of Jesus we happily discover the goodness of God. Zechariah graphically painted a picture of God as he joyfully sang about a “God who is merciful and tender and who causes the bright dawn of salvation to rise on us and to shine from heaven on all those who live in the shadow of death, to guide our steps into the path of peace” (Luke 1:78-79).
3. What is in a name? In the name of Jesus, we happily discover the meaning of Christmas. He is ‘Immanuel’ (God with us). He is the eternal Word and Wisdom of God who took flesh (incarnation) to be born into the world (John 1:14).
4. Christmas is a season to rejoice with Mary, the mother of the redeemer. And so all the redeemed sing with her, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour” (Luke 1:46-47).
5. At Christmas we recall how the 3 Wise men joyfully brought gifts to the infant Jesus (Matthew 2:9-11). Likewise, we bring ourselves joyfully to our saviour presenting to him the gifts of our hearts and lives.
6. The Word Christmas is derived from the old English words Christemasses and Christemesse which mean the Mass of Christ. Thus, Christ, our joy, is the central message of Christmas. Shopping and commerce and other side attractions are not the focus, but Jesus Christ.
7. Our Christmas joy can only be complete when we extend joy and goodness to others. The angels prayerfully asked God to grant his peace to “all people of good will.” This is to say that peace is intimately associated with good will, or God’s will. The literary giant Dante says, “In God’s will is our peace.” At Christmas we rejoice over the good will of God to humankind. We are called to replicate this good will, not only to our closed circle of family and friends but also to our foes, ‘frenemies’ and to all those who wish us ill. In short, Christmas reminds us of the need to joyfully offer ourselves as good will ambassadors to all people. I wish you all a very happy Christmas.
-Fr. Gerald Musa