As the Christmas draws near, the joy of the season effervesces in a glamorous manner. Many people are preparing for weddings, jubilees, anniversaries, child and church dedication, the opening of houses, different forms of parties etc.
As these go on, let us not forget to put on the true garment of the season. In today’s gospel, the Blessed Virgin Mary’s visit enlightens us on the things we have to remember as we celebrate the Christmas season.
In today’s encounter, we envisage distinctly and apparently the true spirit of Christmas. This is the time we have to show the true meaning of Christmas.
The Spirit of the Christmas
1.Firstly, when the news of Elizabeth’s pregnancy was given to Mary by the Angel Gabriel, she left immediately to visit her.
First of all, this is an attitude of faith. She did not doubt that what the angel said would be a lie. She showed who She is; a woman of faith.
Mary teaches us that whenever God speaks to us, either through the word, or through experiences, the next thing required is action. We do not have to wait. Let us not postpone it.
In this season, Our attention and actions to God’s word demand immediate attention. Do not postpone that peace meeting this Christmas. Do not postpone returning to God and begin to attend communion again.
We do not have to postpone to end that long-aged quarrel in the family. The “Emmanuel” wants to come and dwell in our lives again. There is an urgent need to prepare and give Him a place to dwell.
As we draw near to Christmas and go towards the new year, take time to enlist all the things that draw us away from God, and the things that are limiting our success and then give them immediate attention.
2. Secondly, you will observe that during the annunciation, the Angel Gabriel only told Mary about what God has done for Elizabeth. The angel attributes this to the omnipotent power of God.
The Angel Gabriel did not tell her “Please go and visit Elizabeth”. But immediately she heard the good news, she did not waste time, she did not wait to be told, she did not get jealous, she did not laugh at the news.
She ran immediately to celebrate the good news with her cousin. Therefore, the time of Christmas is the time we are to celebrate the good things that happen in other people’s lives. In essence, this is the spirit of christmas. This is the time to celebrate God’s goodness.
One Igbo proverb says “onye fee iheoma, iheoma eruo ya aka” (If you celebrate the good things that happen to others, it will also come back to you).
In essence, this is not the time to eliminate someone you hate. It is not the time to worry that someone is now doing better than you.
This is not the time to begin to say wrong things about someone and plan bad things behind his/her back. The time of Christmas is not the time you laugh before your friends and maim them at their back.
The spirit of Christmas calls for true celebration. if you are bearing grudges for someone, use this period and settle it.
3. Thirdly, imagine the joy that greeted both the unborn baby and her mother when the Mother of the Messiah visited.
The power of the Holy Spirit was experienced at its climax. It was a blessed encounter. This is the spirit of Christmas.
Therefore, this is not a time for unhealthy competition, jealousy, hatred, wickedness, and an incessant showcase of “I have made it” syndrome, but a time to show true and practical love.
Just as the Blessed Virgin Mary visits Elizabeth, it is a time to put a smile on some faces, a time to visit the sick, the aged, the abandoned and rejected. Therefore, this is a time to help that orphan, a time to save the helpless and the suffering.
4. Mary’s visit to her kinswoman teaches that the spirit of Christmas is the spirit of koinonia. It is a time of togetherness, a time to celebrate with our families, friends and relations. So, it is not a time to harbour grudges.
The spirit of Christmas is enjoyed in family togetherness. It is a time to settle long-aged disputes between couples, families, friends etc.
As Mary visits Elizabeth today, the encounter reminds us that someone needs your little attention. There may be someone who needs just a simple visit from you.
Therefore, the spirit of Christmas revolves around our interaction with another person. It is a time also to visit the sick, the poor, the needy, prisoners etc.
5. The visit of Mary radiates joy even to an unborn child. Therefore, anything that doesn’t give the other person joy, should be abrogated this season.
Beloved someone somewhere needs your presence this Christmas season. You have to make some faces happy, you need to bring joy to some depressed lives again. Who are you going to bless this season?
Also, Do not always wait to be given, do not always be on the receiving side. There is somebody somewhere you are better off. Your presence, comforting words and prayers may be all they need at this time.
In essence, the Spirit of Christmas goes with love, peace, hospitality, charity, unity and joy. So, it is not time to burden ourselves with worries and quarrelling. Therefore, it is a moment we have to come together and celebrate as one.
6. At Mary’s visit, Elizabeth exclaimed: “who am I that the Mother of the Lord comes to visit me”. Imagine that feeling and joy. Who can say this about us this season? Choose a soul today and put a smile on his or her face. This is the spirit of Christmas.
So, this is a season of joy. Let us make those people who have nothing to smile again be happy even if it is for five minutes. Can our presence this season bring joy or division? Can it bring peace or hatred? Make your choice. Hence, the choice we make determines who we are.
Finally, as you enjoy and spend money on expensive things, remember that some people cannot be proud of one square meal a day.
As you flaunt your wealth, remember that man or woman who can not have something to eat, remember that boy or girl who has been struggling to pay his or her school fees, remember that boy who is suffering outside there with no one to help.
In essence, no matter who you are, somebody needs you somewhere. Choose a soul today and put a smile on his or her face.
May God bless you dearest and make your festive season fruitful and full of divine surprises Amen.
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