25th December, C. Christmas, Feast for Children

Christmas is an offer. Doesn’t that sound pretty business-like? Indeed, how well we spent Advent depends on how well it has made us ready to take this offer. So, what’s the offer?

Bible readings
Isaiah 52: 7–10
Psalm 98: 1–6
Hebrews 1: 1–6
John 1: 1–14

Christmas, giving and receiving

One of the things that characterise Christmas is the giving of gifts, which is coherent with its meaning. In the mystery of the incarnation, we celebrate God who gives himself in friendship to humanity; he becomes one of us. It’s an offer which rewards those who accept it, as the prologue of John states:

But to all who received him, who believed in his name,
he gave power to become children of God,
 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh
 or of the will of man, but of God.”

Christmas, feast for children

What’s your response? Do you hesitate to take the offer? That’s why I think there’s some truth in what I heard, in some place, where people say Christmas is a feast for children. The idea is that Christmas is celebrated in the family and children are spoiled to some treats: new clothes, gifts, rare menu, and the entertainment is geared to their taste. On the contrary, New Year’s Day is celebrated in the manner more fitting to adults: feasting till late with friends, often outside home. Obviously, you realise that this has nothing to do with Christian celebration. Nevertheless, I can’t resist the idea that Christmas is a feast for children. Why? In a child I see a person who accepts an offer and is ready to move. In short, I see someone who accepts to grow.

Just look at a child’s luggage: small, few items inside and, naturally, light -a traveller par excellence! Tell child, I have an idea: what about visiting this or that place? She gets on her feet with yeah! yeah! And in the matter of seconds, she will be waiting for you in the car, ready to move. Who can’t marvel at such keenness and readiness?

In Christmas there’s an offer that calls for transfer; I just wonder how we can meaningfully celebrate Christmas without such child-like attitude -readiness to move. Probably it begins to make sense to you too that Christmas is a feast for children.

Insecurity of an adult

Usually, an adult will not be as flexible as a child; he has a lot of things to consider: the cost, does my agenda allow? Why this time and not tomorrow? Does the proposal interest me? Do I really feel like going? The questions, obviously important, that adults seek to answer before giving a yes or a no just shows how hard moving on may be for them. They want to keep the security of the position where they are and what they possess -vulnerability scares them.

Can’t this explain, partly, why certain relationships are blocked? When the other says A, I feel compelled to say B, just to show that I won’t lower myself by bowing to the suggestion of the other person. I find security in being master and Mr right; it may be the image I cherish as husband and father or as wife and mother.

Happily, in Christmas we have an assurance that can help to let go. The son of God, and descendant of David, is born in the fragility of a little baby to assure us that such fragility may be exactly what we need in order to embrace this offer of becoming children of God.

Power to become children of God

“Become” is accepting to leave a position and move on to another, which may imply a fresh start. In such case, it includes dispossessing myself of what I have in order to create room for what I want to receive -it’s a journey of growing like a child. Then you can understand why the mighty of this world, both religious and secular, had problem accepting the message of Jesus. It’s the little ones: shepherds, the poor and the excluded ones who jumped with a “yeah” to the message of Jesus. They welcomed the light of the world -and they became children of God.

Then, whatever my age, or whatever is the situation of my couple, things can change for better when I accept to “become”, that is, when I accept to move on. Yes, Christmas is a feast for children, that is, for those who want to grow.

So, just like we shall be filled with positive surprise after unwrapping that gift from those who care about us, may the fragile God, in the baby of Bethlehem, fill us with awe and so encourage us to embrace the offer of becoming God’s children.

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See also:

24th December, Christmas Eve, Feast of Encounter

25th December, Christmas Day, Year B
25th December, Christmas A. Solidarity with Wounded Humanity

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