What’s your favourite part about Christmas? Is it having a fresh, beautifully-decorated Christmas tree in your home? Is it trying to figure out that perfect present for a loved one? Is it planning and preparing a nice holiday meal? I suppose to some extent it is all of these and perhaps more. Christmas traditions are important. Traditions anchor our families and build memories.

This year has been a bit different than usual. It required us to be a bit more flexible and perhaps to let go of certain things that we longed to do this Christmas. Extended family gatherings around a big table may have been replaced by a Zoom chat or a video exchange. The usually-festive meal may have been a quieter one with no special visitors from outside the home. Presents that were usually gifted in person may have been delivered courtesy of Canada Post’s extended business hours. Children’s Christmas pageants were delivered electronically, and thank God for modern day technology!

One thing that remained the same this year, however, is our longing to be together, to visit, to celebrate, to see and spend time with one another. Perhaps now more than ever, we crave to be a part of our broader human family, to be a part of a reality where we feel safe and free to go about our daily lives and activities without worrying about the fragile state the world is in. Perhaps now more than ever our hearts are open and ready to be filled with the hope, grace and the love that a newborn Child brings.

Tonight’s mass readings tell us “The people who walked in the darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shone….For a child has been born to us, a son given to us…and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9.2-6).”

If the pandemic created distance between people, may the Christ Child bring us back together by reminding each of us that we are a part of a big human family, a human family amidst which God Incarnate made his dwelling. If any one of us is feeling alone or isolated this season, may the spirit of Christmas give us reason to ponder with awe that special birth that took place 2,000 years ago, which united heaven and earth and made all of us children of God. Wherever we may be today, however we might be celebrating this Christmas, may our faith be the unifying and connecting force in the human family of all God’s children.

From all of us at Living with Christ and Novalis, we wish you a safe, blessed and joy-filled Christmas!

Natalia Kononenko, Editor, Living with Christ

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