GOD CLOSE TO US
Christmas is much more than all the superficial and manipulative things going on around us these day in our neighborhoods. A feastday much deeper and joyful than all the fads of our consumer society.
We believers must recover again the heart of this feast and look behind so much superficiality and confusion to discover the mystery that gives rise to our joy. We need to learn to «celebrate» Christmas. Not everyone knows what it is we’re celebrating. Not everyone knows what it is that opens our heart to such joy.
Yet we will only understand Christmas if we know how to be silent in our heart, and open our soul to the mystery of a God who is close to us, and rejoice with the life that is offered us, and taste the feast of the arrival of God our Friend.
In the midst of our daily life that is too often boring, burnt-out and sad, we are invited to rejoice. «Sadness has no place when life is being born» (St. Leo the Great). We aren’t talking about a joy that is insipid or superficial. A joy those have who don’t know why they are joyful. «We have cause for a radiant joy, one that is full and suited for the solemn feast: God has become human and has come to live among us» (Leonardo Boff). There is a joy that only can be enjoyed by those who open themselves up to God’s closeness and who allow themselves to be drawn by God’s tenderness.
A joy that frees us of fears, mistrust and inhibition as we face God. Why fear a God who comes to us as a child? Why avoid One who offers Self as a fragile and defenseless baby? God hasn’t come armed with power to impose Self on us humans. God comes close to us in the tenderness of a child whom we can welcome or reject.
God can’t be at the same time the «all-powerful» and «mighty» that we suspect when enclosed in the gravity and mystery of an inaccessible world. God is this child given lovingly to humanity, this little one who catches our gaze in order to make us happy with his smile.
The fact that God has become a child says a whole lot more about who God is than all our musings and speculations about God’s mystery. If we would know to stop in silence before this child and welcome God’s closeness and tenderness from the depths of our being, maybe we would understand why the believer’s heart ought to be pierced with a completely different kind of joy during these Christmas days.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf