Christmas for most people can become a frenetic time. Lots to do—decorating, cooking, shopping, traveling perhaps—and lots of activities and events: parties, meals, caroling, family rituals, maybe even the odd church service.
While that is the nature of festivity and as such is right and proper (if a bit fatiguing), it can get us a bit out of balance if we are not careful. Prayer is needed at all times to put us back into reality and into interior peace and stability.
To pray at Christmas, in the midst of all the noise and rush and celebratory fuss—this is a great gift. And I think there is a special grace of prayer at this time of year, if we look for it. God comes to us with such delicacy and beauty at Christmas, the little baby lying on straw in the manger, his lovely mother hovering over him, the star shining and the angels singing, the kings and shepherds adoring.
There is trouble and fuss beforehand—getting to Bethlehem was a terribly busy rush for Mary and Joseph. There will be great trouble and fuss and much worse—tragedy and loss—afterwards. The flight into Egypt with a newborn baby must have been a great suffering for them. But here and now, this night, in this stable, there is great peace, great beauty, great silence, deep prayer. And I think this silence and prayer is waiting for us in the Christmas season, perhaps at the crèche set, perhaps before the Lord Himself in the tabernacle, perhaps in the silence of your own heart. Sometimes we do need to step away from all the noise and fuss of the feast to find that silence.
So, while I wish you all a most merry Christmas, I also want to wish you a prayer-y Christmas (ouch). After all, He came for this, that each one of us could find Him readily and certainly and come into this deep and total union of love with Him, and so be conformed to His life and love in the world, and be happy with Him forever in the next world.
Try hard to find some quiet time today and into tomorrow, some prayer-y time, to ponder what tonight and tomorrow really means to you and to the world. Think on it.
I hope to do so. I hope to do so because I need to be changed by it. I think we all need to be changed by it. Especially now.
Merry Christmas to every one of you and especially to those of you who regularly stop by.