Christmas star shining amid other stars

Christmas – Season of Promise!

 December 24, 2016

Our lives are full of promises–those we have made and those made to us; those we have kept and those we have yet to fulfill; promises we make to ourselves and keep quietly within our hearts, waiting for the best time to speak or act.

Consider how promises influence our lives. Our perception of life is so often colored by the promises made to us by others–promises kept, promises broken, promises that came in ways we did not anticipate. Much of our emotional health stems from the way we react to or cope with promises: delighting and trusting that others will keep their promises; letting go, forgiving, or holding grudges when broken promises dash our hopes; being faithful or careless about the promises we make to others.

The liturgical season of Christmas provides rich opportunities to reflect on promises. Promises surround us for those with eyes to see–some fulfilled, some still unfolding, others yet to come. Certainly the greatest promises of all are those that God gives us. And how delightfully God surprises us with the timing and the way God keeps those promises! Divine God born in a stable? Infant born of a virgin, yet divine? Kingly infant, bereft of trumpets, of purple silks adorning his cradle? When we meditate on the promise of a savior and manner of that savior’s coming, we can perhaps once more really believe in the best promises–of abundant life here and now, of life yet to come.

The season of Christmas gives us time to take a fresh look at promises of all kinds, to find inspiration and meaning in the promises we discover, to seek those promises that enrich and delight human life. In the Catholic tradition, our churches are finally filled with the sounds and colors of the season, evergreen trees, poinsettias, lights everywhere and Christmas carols fill the air. The reward of waiting in hope all through December, waiting while everyone else was rushing through the season. And now, as others are winding down, putting away their decorations and music for another year, our celebration is just beginning and continues through Epiphany. We have waited and now enjoy the fulfillment of the promise.

These meditations are meant to help you find new perspective and inspiration during the weeks that follow the celebration of Christmas Day–or any time during the year when your life centers on a promise. The Incarnation is a feast worth celebrating all year long, and its message and meaning are not restricted to that brief time between December 25 and the First Sunday of Ordinary Time. Though the Biblical selections included here reflect the feasts and themes of the Christmas season, they are appropriate whenever you need spiritual nourishment, inspiration or consolation; whenever you need a “little Christmas.”

Through your reading and reflecting on these meditations may you find the courage to look beyond false promises to those that are real. May you let go of past hurts from promises not kept and find the strength to believe again. May you have eyes to see that promise that is in you and around you. Merry Christmas–every day of your life!


This post is part of a series of reflections on the Church year. Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

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