Christmas in the Year of Faith
By Bishop Richard J. Malone
Bishop of Buffalo
I love the Christmas season! Except for the rampant consumerism that each year threatens to obscure the true meaning of Christmas, I delight in all the custom and tradition, the sights, sounds and scents of our annual celebration of our Savior's birthday.
Christmas 2012 falls early in the Church's Year of Faith, this graced time during which Pope Benedict XVI has invited all Catholics to come to a deeper appreciation and more personal appropriation of the gift of faith. Because faith is first and foremost the gift of a relationship with Jesus Christ, Christmas is a wonderful time to ponder anew the wonder of such an awesome gift of God.
What marvelous love, that God enters into our lives in the Incarnation of the Word made flesh. Christ came to share in our joys and hopes, our pain and anxiety, like us in all things but sin. He teaches how to live godly, virtuous lives. He gave His life on the cross to save and set us free. He rose from the dead to conquer the power of sin and death. He ascended to His Father, and sent the Holy Spirit to strengthen us for our mission of transforming the world.
The Year of Faith invites us to be stunned again by the shock of the Incarnation, that God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son. And the Year of Faith challenges us to find the passion in our own faith that will impel us to share the meaning of being Catholic with all we meet.
Might we make our own the prayer of St. Clement of Alexandra with which Pope Benedict XVI concluded his homily closing the recent Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization:
"Until now I wandered in the hope of finding God, but since you enlighten me, O Lord, I find God through you and I receive the Father from you, I become your co-heir, since you did not shrink from having me for your brother. Let us put away then, let us put away all blindness to the truth, all ignorance, and removing the darkness that obscures our wisdom like fog before the eyes, let us contemplate the true God since a light from heaven shown down upon us who were buried in darkness and imprisoned in the shadow of death, a light purer than the sun, sweeter than life on this earth."
The Joy and Peace of Christmas to all!