“Give to the Lord, you sons of God, Give to the Lord glory and praise, Give to the Lord the glory due His name, adore the Lord in holy attire (Psalm 29:1-2).”
With the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord the Liturgical Season of Christmas officially draws to a close and the season of Ordinary Time commences. As the colorful Christmas lights are packed away, and the ornaments find their way back into the attic, we shift spiritual gears from the preparing for the birth of Christ and rejoicing in His Incarnation to the nitty-gritty of daily life. The preparations are over, the thrill of anticipation and the reminiscences of Christmas morning are but memories. The glitz of tinsel and shimmer of Christmas lights have faded into the subdued glow of a cold winter morn.
Now comes the hard part. We must face the challenge of carrying Christmas – and with it, the Christ-Child – in our hearts all the year through. We are called to be christophers, that is Christ-bearers. With the immortalized Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, we are called to vow:
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me.”
Yet the Spirit we are asked to grasp is not illusory, rather we are called to fully welcome the Holy Spirit. We are called to embrace the Christ-Child and never let Him go. We are asked to refrain from packing Him away like the plastic and porcelain replicas from our nativity crèche.
With God’s grace, may we strive each and every day to wrap the newborn Christ Child in a blanket of love, and keep Him warm in the cradle of our hearts. Unlike the inn-keepers from of old, may we welcome the Holy Family. As we shelter Jesus, Mary and Joseph in our hearts, may the Holy Family sanctify our lives and strengthen within us the virtues requisite for authentic family life. Through Our Lady’s maternal love, may we see the face of Christ in all whom we meet. As St. Joseph protected the Blessed Mother and Infant Jesus, through his intercession may our chastity and that of our families remain safe, even in the midst of a licentious pagan culture.
With the humility of shepherds, may we respond immediately to His messengers and glorify God even in our most menial of daily duties. May we seek Him with the zeal of the Magi, and perpetually offer the gold of charity, the Frankincense of prayer and the myrrh of penitential sacrifice. Lastly, with the angels may we seek to do His Holy Will and perfectly reflect His goodness so that one day we may join the celestial chorus in praising Him in Paradise for all eternity.
Ad Jesum Per Mariam,
*** Photos taken at the annual Living Nativity at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill on December 16, 2012. Used with Permission.