Christmas Invitations and Gifts
“Behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy,” exclaimed the angel to the shepherds in the field. “Today in the city of David, a Savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).
At the heart of Christmas is this invitation to rejoice in the Good News, an invitation to share in the great gift that is tendered to us in the Word made flesh – “for God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The Son of God comes into the world not in an overpowering or imposing way, but in a humble newborn who knocks on the doors of our hearts offering us his love, a love that reveals the ultimate meaning of our lives and “is greater than sin, than weakness, than the futility of creation, it is stronger than death; it is a love always ready to raise up and forgive,” as Saint John Paul II affirmed (Redemptor Hominis, 9).
Like the shepherds, this is how we all come to know and rejoice in the Lord who redeems our lives: We each have been invited to receive Jesus into our hearts and lives. Our joy in accepting cannot help but spur us to invite others to share in our blessings and experience the true meaning of Christmas. Like the many presents under the tree, there are many invitations we can extend – singing Christmas carols together, asking someone to join us at Mass or to do some charitable service together – even a simple “Merry Christmas” can brighten someone’s life. In these commercialized times, when we can no longer take it for granted that people know that Christmas is about Christ, or even who Jesus truly is, they might really cherish hearing from you the real story and why the Lord means so much to you.
Our Christmas invitation is for people to personally experience the wonder and joy of Love Incarnate coming into the world. And because Jesus came to save all people, all are welcome, everyone is invited. In a particular way, to anyone who might be disillusioned or disaffected by contemporary society or even by our faith community, the Church assures you that there is a place for you here in our spiritual home. Our invitation is extended to everyone.
Wherever those we encounter are in life, whatever their own particular circumstances, our invitation to come see the Christ Child born in Bethlehem can help renew and transform them by his presence in their lives. There is no gift that we could buy that would be greater than this gift of sharing in the hope, peace and love of Jesus, the reason for the season.