Why did the prophets proclaim restoration for wastelands, and justice for orphans and widows? Why was Jesus born in a manger, within a cave, filled with livestock? Why are 'the poor in spirit' proclaimed blessed in Jesus' Beatitudes? And why do so many saints consecrate their lives to God in poverty?
Because Christmas was meant for the poor.
"The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom. They will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song." Isaiah 35:1-6, 10
There are many ways to be poor!
Poverty is not just economical, nor is it only located on certain continents. Though we must help our starving brothers and sisters in 'Third World' countries, 'First World' spiritual, and social, desolation is devastating many a heart in the American homeland. The loss of faith, the gain in skepticism, the loss of hope, the gain in despair, the loss of virtue, and the gain in acquired popular vices are killing us in the heart of our American homeland.
Christmas Jesus comes to bring the flower of faith, and virtue, to the great American wasteland.
"The fatherless and the widow he sustains, but the way of the wicked he thwarts." Psalm 146:6-10
Christmas, moreover, is a time of great joy for those who seek only for God's consolation, and the Spirit of true sacrificial Love. The 'Christmas spirit' seen in festivities, and families uniting, brings greater joy to the disciple of the poor and simple Jesus than any material 'present' could ever do. Yet, Christmas brings great frustration to the greedy and the inwardly turned person. God, paradoxically, blesses some with the emptiness of temporal desolation in hopes that they will turn and embrace the riches found in the poverty of Jesus Christ.
No toy brings joy like faith and hope in the miracle babe.
"You too must be patient." James 5:7-10
Yet, Christmas can be a very sad, and lonely, time for the faithful disciple of Christ, who, losing a loved one, or suffering a debilitating physical condition, or battling an addiction, or experiencing Christmas without family and friends, suffers the loss of God's consolation in such a blessed season. Personally experienced with this, words cannot express the heaviness of heart that one has to endure. All we can do is trust in God's Providence to bring consolation on a soon to come horizon.
Endurance brings blessedness.
"And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” Matthew 11:2-11
Jesus, born poor, preached poverty while poor, to the poor, and ultimately suffered Crucifixion in naked poverty for the sake of all the poor in sin. Born in a cave, He returns every Christmas to our doubt, to our rejection, to our indifference, and to our turning His Christmas into a consumer 'holiday.' Not only is Christmas for our poverty--good and bad--it is also about His.
Will we be rich enough in spirit to embrace the poor and humble babe into our lives? Will we embrace His poverty in faith, hope, and charity, so that our poverty in sin, and self-absorption, is enriched in Divine Mercy?
Will we finally see Christmas as it really is…a time to embrace the poor in, and around, us, in compassion, Mercy, and Love?
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