If you think you’ve had it rough this year, what with covid-19 morphing into the Omicron variant and new restrictions on our freedom looming, you have our sympathy. We have all had a tough year and we need a break.
Christmas is that time to escape, even if only figuratively. Within the public health restrictions imposed by the various governments who rule over our lives, we can still turn our focus to the Source of our life and hope. The birth of Jesus, celebrated throughout this special season, reminds us that there is a greater reality than our material world and that God’s covenant with his people will be kept.
Indeed, the arrival of the Son of God on earth was one of the most powerful signs of how God keeps his promises. By becoming human, God took on our human burdens and made them his own. Through Christmas, we celebrate God’s ongoing love for the world and his promise that salvation awaits those of us who hope.
The Christian notion of hope is not the same as optimism. It doesn’t mean we look at the world through rose-coloured glasses, that we think everything will work out “for the best.” A Christian can be full of hope and still accept that bad things will continue to happen and that even the most ardent prayers may not appear to change a thing.
A Christian is a realist about the world; we accept that evil exists, that our own natures include a dark side which can lead us into inflicting pain on others. Being hopeful does not absolve us of responsibility for the future of our world because we will be leaving this “vale of tears” in any event. Our faith also calls us to act in a way to nurture the world, heal the sick, seek justice for the oppressed, feed the hungry and be kind to strangers.
But we can, without feeling guilty, enjoy a little Christmas spirit even while acknowledging our responsibility to our world. Celebrating the birth of Jesus remains a joyous occasion, even two millennia after the historical event took place. It reminds us that we have purpose and our lives are full of meaning. In fact, that we are loved.
From all of us at Novalis, to all of you — our readers, our authors, partners and friends — our most heartfelt blessings this Christmas. May it be a time of peace, joy, sharing with others, and love.
Joseph Sinasac is Publishing Director at Novalis. He has been involved with religious communications for more than 40 years as an author, journalist, editor and TV and radio commentator on all things Catholic. He continues to be excited by the commitment and passion of the Catholics he meets in his daily work.