Ever get that dark, gloomy feeling after Christmas is over? Given the state of the world today, it's not unreasonable to wonder if it could be even worse this year. But does it have to be? We'll explore how God brought hope and light to the Israelites in the book of Isaiah and why that is incredibly important to us today as well.
You just "don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone." Mary and Joseph journey to Bethlehem for the Roman census. Tradition is often born out of difficulty. Here we are in difficult times. But we have our families and friends. This too will pass. And the day will dawn – someday; there is always someday. But for now we have us.
This is a healing and therapeutic teaching. It acknowledges that the holidays are not always joyous and happy for some. There is loss and grief. But Jesus comes and is “Emmanuel,” God with us as Isaiah states it (Is 7:14; cf Mt 1:23). Narrative of Lazarus: “Had you been here, my brother would not have died” (Jn 11). Presence matters. And Jesus is with us. Advent reminds us that we are not alone, and grief is not forever. (Ref: Long way around the barn).
(The Good Samaritan)
The story of Bishop Nicholas (Myra) finds center stage this day. It is little celebrated. But historically it is the big day during the Christmas season. This is the day of gift giving, imitating the example of Nicholas, who secretly provided a dowry gift for some young women to avoid them being sold because they could not secure a husband without a dowry. Generosity is an act of being in solidarity with our neighbor. Christ breaks down the barriers between people (ethnicity, race, class, etc.). The early church is example of humanity at its very best (Acts 2, 4)