The most beautiful Christmas

“Let us make this the most beautiful Christmas ever for us and everyone around us. Together let us sing Don Moen’s ‘Emmanuel Has Come.’”

In one of his Christmas addresses, Pope Francis reminded the faithful that the birth of Christ must be seen as an opportunity for us to grow closer to God to be more virtuous.

He urged us to contemplate the scene of Christ’s birth, reminding Christians that God loves people even when they fail; that God loves us unconditionally even as we are called to love him in the same way by worshiping him.

The Pope said: “This is the recipe against selfishness and a thirst for power, against the inordinate desire for fame and worldly pleasure.

“It goes without saying that celebrating Christmas goes beyond the superficial external trappings that come with it.

“It does not only mean gifts and merrymaking or family reunions. Christmas is to celebrate the enormity of Christ’s love for us.”

Jesus Christ, being the King of Kings, came into this world clothed like a beggar.

He was born in a stable and in the most humble way, without pomp and fanfare, but in a most nondescript manner with angels and poor shepherds in attendance.

Imagine heaven declaring the birth of Jesus, the king of kings, to the poorest of the poor.

By his birth and death, God has shown to us the enormity of his love for us.

Christmas, according to Cardinal Cantalamessa, preacher of the papal household, offers us a chance to receive “the infinite gift of God’s love” with “amazement and gratitude.”

For the good Cardinal, we must become like children to believe in love, since life’s disappointments tend to make us cautious and even cynical about love.

He said: “Children believe in love, but not based on reasoning. By instinct, by nature. They are born full of confidence in the love of their parents.

“They ask parents for the things they need, perhaps even by stamping their feet, but the unspoken assumption is not that they have earned it; rather that they are the children and that one day they will be the heirs of everything.”

Despite everything that is happening around us, we can turn this Christmas into the best and most meaningful one yet, if we only recognize the hidden face of Christ amidst the humdrum of the world’s troubles and struggles — if we recognize that the baby Jesus on the manger has the power to heal all afflictions, to transform our lives for the better.

Let us, therefore, try to find more meaning this Christmas by seeking Christ on the manger, not by ignoring him much like the people in our story, so that by his words and example we can build a better foundation for ourselves, our families, and our community as a whole.

We only need to humbly acknowledge our wretchedness and unworthiness before his eyes, knowing that all human afflictions that we face are ultimately rooted in our own failings and sinfulness.

This way, we will come to realize and fully understand what God has done for us and is doing for us, in our lives, even as we celebrate Christmas despite pain, sickness, and suffering.

We can move forward in the troubled months and years ahead with confidence knowing that we are built on a strong and solid foundation in Christ.

In concluding his third Advent sermon, Cardinal Cantalamessa recalled that the Child Jesus comes to the door of our heart this Christmas to knock, offering Himself and God’s love as His gift.

He shared this story to illustrate how the Virgin Mother seeks to offer Jesus to the world and how we need to become children to receive Him:

“A legend says that among the shepherds who went to see the Child on Christmas Eve, there was a shepherd boy so poor that he had nothing to offer his Mother, and he stood aside in shame. Everyone competed to give Mary their gift.

“The Mother could not hold them all, having to hold the Child Jesus in her arms. Seeing the little shepherd next to her with empty hands, she then takes the Child and puts Him in his arms. Having nothing was his luck. Let’s make this luck be ours too!”

Yes, indeed, let us make this the most beautiful Christmas ever for us and everyone around us. Together let us sing Don Moen’s Emmanuel Has Come:

“Christmas is about his glory, Christmas is about his grace. Christmas is a gift of love our Father gave us. More than just another story about a special time and place, Christmas is a time to lift a song of praise.

For God is with us and we celebrate the glory of His presence.

Christ has come to fill our hearts with love, He came to save, King of kings and Lord of Lords. His name is Jesus, God with us, Emmanuel has come.”

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