Almost Christmas (or CHRISTmas as I prefer to emphasize those first six letters); almost time to celebrate the birth of our Lord. Yet, in my family (two older sibs, both unmarried) I have to be ultra careful to avoid mentioning Jesus and more or less treat it as the secular holiday to which it has been reduced 😔.
One of my biggest struggles during this time of year is fighting the temptation towards envy. Oh how I yearn for my family to all be on the same wavelength, for us to pray together (to see my father pray at all would be a miracle! He's Catholic, attends Mass on Sunday's but is otherwise private about his faith life).
I'm lonely. I know Jesus is always with me, but having to suppress my love of Him, not being able to express myself, feeling like I'm the weird sibling, the baby of the family, the seemingly perpetually unemployed. What do I have to show for my strong devotion to our Lord and the Catholic faith?
Yet, as my seminarian-friend, Ryan so eloquently writes, "My life is not the thing by which I measure whether or not I can or should be merry. The fact that in the midst of the darkness caused by all the nonsense I face, a light that I didn’t ask for and don’t deserve continues to shine is the reason and source of my merriment. The ‘period’ at the end of the sentence of my woes is precisely this: a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel. God is with us. God is for us. God is in us. Emmanuel. Jesus. The savior, the king, the lover, the friend. Jesus."
Year after year, Jesus provides the grace I need to get through this season. Thank You, Jesus! Yet, I long for a Christmas that I don't dread, a Christmas that I can fully embrace as the celebration of God becoming man, becoming a newborn baby, out of total love for us. A Christmas where I don't have to hear His name taken in vein over and over again.
This this is why I yearn for Heaven so intensely: so I can finally forever be in the company of everyone who does love Jesus, where I don't have to hide my religion or feel bad about it.
Happy (almost) birthday Jesus; please open the hearts of ALL people to Your wondrous love!