Yet the spirit of the season has not been lost. Driving around we see people continue to decorate our churches, homes, stores and streets with colorful lights, tinsel, ornaments and nativity scenes. Radios and TV's continue to play the Christmas songs we know so well. People still shop in stores and malls to get some things so they can give or exchange gifts to celebrate the feast.
So too for all of us, the true meaning of the season cannot be lost. The heart of that spirit is Christ, the Light of the world (Jn 8:12), Yes, we have been living in a pandemic darkness, but that has not dimmed the Light that Christ brings. He strengthens us with the gift of hope that reminds us of the marvelous promises God has made to those who depend on Him.
Christ continues to be the source of our strength, endurance and life. In His infinite love, God sent Christ, the Emmanuel who is "God with us" (Is 7:14) to strengthen our faith in the Divine Son who became man for us except sin and for our salvation. His loving and saving presence assures us we are not alone. He comes to heal our afflictions, calms our anxieties and gives us hope for better days the New Year may bring.
This is a time for reflection and prayer to put us in touch with the meaning and essence of Christmas. It provides us the opportunity to connect more intimately with God and with each other through our faith, by living in hope and sharing our love especially during these challenging times.
Pope Francis reminded us "a crisis is overcome by the antibodies of solidarity." Let us be sources of love and hope for each other by encouraging, affirming and supporting those around us to lift us up and strengthen us on these dark days. I pray that the profound love of God and the light of Christ we celebrate this Christmas during this very unusual year be upon us.
A Blessed and Merry Christmas!