Blessed Oscar Romero on Christmas
No one can celebrate a genuine Christmas without being truly poor. The self-sufficient, the proud, those who, because they have everything, look down on others, whose who have no need even of God — for them there will be no Christmas. Only the poor, the hungry, those who need someone to come on their behalf, will have that someone. That someone is God, Emmanuel, God-with-us. Without poverty of spirit there can be no abundance of God. (December 24, 1978)
We must not seek the child Jesus in the pretty figures of our Christmas cribs. We must seek him among the undernourished children who have gone to bed tonight without eating, among the poor newsboys who will sleep covered with newspapers in doorways. (December 24, 1979)
May His coming amidst us, grant us a Jubilee Year of Mercy and Compassion in all that we think, in all that we do and, in all that we are!
The birth of Christ celebrates the grace given us that we do not have to rise to heaven to get to God, that God has come down to earth to us. The human birth of the Savior celebrates the fact that the boundless God had crossed over inconceivable and unknown borders and has personally bound and humbled himself to dwell with us as a man. An unbelievable and inconceivable happening which only Love can imagine and accomplish.
Why did God have to come in person to enter our world? In order to repay a debt he did not owe because we owed a debt which we were unable to pay. God sought us out in our dire need and, finding us, chose to dwell among us. The birth of Jesus Christ is the incarnation of God’s love and desire to save us, to be with us and to have us be with him.
Like the Son of God, we are born to love and to serve as he did. We should then seek out our neighbor and, finding him/her, love and serve him/her. Do we truly love our neighbor? Do we wish to share his/her pains and joys? Do we wish to be with him/her and help him/her?
Each one of us has something valuable to give. May each one of us learn how to love our neighbor and to use things in service of that love. May we learn to relate to one another in the power of love and not in love of power.
The birth of Jesus reminds us of a story on Abraham Lincoln. Though not a regular church-goer, President Lincoln was a man of deep faith. At a gathering with a group of ministers during the US Civil War, one of the ministers said, “Mr. President, let us pray that God be on our side.” With far greater insight Lincoln replied, “No, gentlemen, let us pray that we be on God’s side.”
The birth of the Son of God celebrates the reality of God on our side. Are we on God’s side?