Loading
December 20, 2011
Maybe we are expecting too little for Christmas
By Russell Shaw *

By Russell Shaw *

The problem many of us have with Christmas isn’t that we expect too much of it but that we expect much too little. My Christmas wish for all of us, myself included, is that we raise our sights and ask for all that God really wants to give us. If we can open ourselves to receive that, we may be astonished at what we get.
 
There’s a hint of it in something written by Father Alfred Delp, S.J., a German priest executed by the Nazis near the end of World War II. Speaking of Christ’s coming, he said:
 
“All these are not merely one-time historical events upon which our salvation rests. They are simultaneously the model figures and events that announce to us the new order of things, of life, of our existence….
 
“The world is more than its burden, and life more than the sum of its gray days. The golden threads of the genuine reality are already shining through everywhere…Hope grows through the one who is himself a person of the hope and the promise.”

Jesus commonly is said to save us from our sins. That’s surely the heart of it. But besides simply saving from sin, redemption is empowerment. In the Son of Man, the world, including ourselves, is restored, renewed (cf. Eph 1,9-10). In Jesus, we are co-redeemers, participants in building the kingdom of God.
 
The Second Vatican Council expands on that in an extraordinary passage in “Gaudium et Spes” (the Constitution on the Church in the Modern World). Speaking of God’s entry into history as a man, and recalling the scriptural promise of a “new earth” to come, the council teaches:
 
“Far from diminishing our concern to develop this earth, the expectancy of a new earth should spur us on, for it is here that the body of a new human family grows, foreshadowing in some way the age which is to come….When we have spread on earth the fruits of our nature and our enterprise—human dignity, brotherly communion, and freedom—according to the command of the Lord and in his Spirit, we will find them once again, cleansed this time from the stain of sin, illuminated and transfigured, when Christ presents to his Father an eternal and universal kingdom….

“Here on earth the kingdom is mysteriously present” (Gaudium et Spes, 38-39)
 
Co-redeemers with Christ, Jesus’ collaborators in building God’s kingdom—the kingdom that will last forever—these are the roles Christ’s coming opens up to us. If that sounds grandiose, so be it. In fact, it’s very grand. But for most of us, it’s realized in quite ordinary ways, much as Jesus’ coming took place in the ordinariness of a stable.
 
St. Josemaria Escriva underlined that in a Christmas homily in 1963:
 
“Can it be said also of you who have been called to be another Christ, that you have come to do and to teach, to do things as a son of God would? Are you attentive to the Father’s will, so as to be able to encourage everyone else to share the good, noble, divine and human values of the redemption? Are you living the life of Christ in your everyday life in the middle of the world?
 
“That is the triumph of Jesus Christ. He has raised us to his level, the level of children of God, by coming down to our level, the level of children of men.”
 
And that is why we ought to put aside the mistake of expecting too little of Christmas.

Russell Shaw is the author of more than twenty books, including three novels and volumes on ethics and moral theology, the Catholic laity, clericalism, the abuse of secrecy in the Church, and other topics. He has also published thousands of articles in periodicals, among them The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, L’Osservatore Romano, America, Crisis, Catholic World Report, The National Catholic Reporter, and many others. From 1967-1987 he served as communications director for the U.S. Catholic bishops and from 1987-1997 was information director for the Knights of Columbus. He lives in Washington, D.C.
« Previous entry     Back to index     Next entry »
Ads by Google
(What's this?)
blog comments powered by Disqus

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

3D Church mapping
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Jul
30

Liturgical Calendar

July 30, 2014

Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:44-46

Gospel
Date
07/30/14
07/29/14
07/28/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Jer 15: 10, 16-21
Gospel:: Mt 13: 44-46

Saint of the Day

St. Peter Chrysologus »

Saint
Date
07/29/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 13:44-46

Homily
Date
07/30/14
07/29/14
07/28/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: