““Everthing’s a changing” our village storyteller would often announce and so right he was. Life is about changing and to live is to change often.
At this time of the year we notice the changes in a very real way. We are all a year older. One year is ending and another about to begin. The winter has moved in and we await the changes spring will bring about. We remember people who were with us this time last year and have gone to God.
The Christmas story and event mark the biggest change in our life’s journey - the Word became flesh and lived amongst us. The newness and awesomeness of this message of Christmas gets glossed over amidst the glitter and consumerism of the season. This time of year recalls how Emmanuel - God - is with us on our journey through life.
Celebrating Christmas is a source of strength and hope as we rembember the great things God has done for us. He has come down to us in order to be with us and lift us up. It is a moment of divine consolation. The faith and joy I have experienced in celebrating Christmas Mass with refugee communities in camps over the years has relayed in stereo this powerful message. He has come to raise up the lowly and set the downtrodden free and this is communicated in the lived faith experience of so many victims of conflict and violence in our world today.
The year that has passed has witnessed a broken humanity in need of healing and reconciliation from Ukraine to Syria, from the Central African Republic to South Sudan. The powerless people hunger for peace and reconciliation. When we desire and join in this mission to build reconciliation and a new humanity, every day is Christmas Day in and for our world. Small consistent acts of kindness and justice make huge differences in the struggles of our daily lives. St. Ignatius taught that love is expressed more in giving than receiving, in actions rather than just words. When we reach out, listen and are kind to one another, Jesus is born in the stable of each other’s hearts.
We remember all our missionaries in different parts of the world and their work of bringing the good news of consolation to the people they serve. All of us in the Mission office remember you in a special way at this time of year and thank you for all your support in the past year and over the years, without which our mission work could not continue.
Have a blessed Christmas and peaceful New Year.
Author: Fr. John K Guiney SJ, Director