As we look forward to celebrating the birth of Our Savior, we cannot help but reflect on all that we have experienced over the past year.
And though it feels as if 2020 has been more difficult — with its sickness and separation, injustice and anger, worry and loss — we are also reminded that there is a positive emotion we can share. Hope. It is the hope of expectation; not of things, but of potential.
The emotion of hope is an assurance that comes from the birth of the child, Jesus. When Mary, through God, brought into our world a small and helpless infant, our existence in this life was transformed, with hope.
The Gospels tell us that the Christ Child, who held the Divine nature of God, grew and became strong as a human. In his growth, he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
When he was 12, his parents found their son, our Lord, in the Temple, listening to other teachers and asking them questions. The Gospel said that “all who heard him were amazed.”
Following the example of those early disciples, we must also listen like the children of God. We must hear the teachings of Jesus with humility, prayer and devotion.
Sometimes, when we feel threatened, we react with anger, impatience and pride. We lash out. If we truly are to be followers of Christ, we must temper that fear with prayer and work to extend the peace shown to us through the birth of the Christ Child.
If we are to be made worthy of the promises of Christ for the joys of heaven, then we must pray for and cultivate the virtue of humility. Without such modesty, spiritual development remains an unattainable goal.
This Christmas, remember that there is joy to be found in all that God has given. It is the wisdom we acquire in this life about overcoming our sin that prepares us for the Kingdom of God. We stand at the threshold of eternity but until then, we must work toward it with hope.
Let us give ourselves over to Christ and trust in God’s goodness. Let us pray “Thy will be done in me, O glorious God.”
Most Rev. Robert E. Guglielmone, Bishop of Charleston
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