I still send out Christmas cards and happily, a bunch of my friends still send them to me.
Also happily, the greetings are often accompanied by some crackerjack reflections. Below is a small sampling.
“Christ used the flesh and blood of Mary for his life on earth, the Word of love was uttered in her heartbeat. Christ used his own body to utter his love on earth; his perfectly real body, with bone and sinew and blood and tears; Christ uses our bodies to express his love on earth, our humanity.
“A Christian life is a sacramental life, it is not a life lived only in the mind, only by the soul; through the bodies of men and women Christ toils and endures and rejoices and loves and dies; in them he is increased, set free, imprisoned, restrained. In them he is crucified and buried and rises from the dead.
“Our humanity is the substance of the sacramental life of Christ in us, like the wheat for the host, like the grape for the chalice.
“Christ works his love through material as well as spiritual things. Into his worship, following his own lead, the Church, his Church, brings material things, pure wax, flame, oil, salt, gold, water, linen, the voices of people, the gestures and actions of people, our own souls and bodies—the substance of our flesh and blood. All this is consistent with the incarnation, when Christ took the human nature of Our Lady to be himself.”
~Caryll Houselander, from The Comforting of Christ
“What has changed the face of the earth? Christian humility and the manger of Jesus Christ…. There is, then, no humiliation or poverty which the manger cannot turn into glory for us,” and, “no greatness or high position which the manger should not render suspect to us.”
–Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, founder of the Marianists
“It is Christmas. Light the candles. They have more right to exist than the darkness. In Christmas, God says to us,: ‘I am there. I am with you. I am your life. I am your gloom and I am your joy. Do not be afraid to be happy!’ “
From a post entitled “Lead with Beauty” by Dr. Tom Neal, from his blog Neal Obstat: Theological Opinings.
“I have mentioned before here a priest I knew back in the late 1980’s, Fr. Albert. He was in his 90’s and in a nursing home. A really remarkable man, as testified to by so many who knew him over the years. Over the course of one summer, I visited him every weekday morning for Mass at 6:00 a.m. He and I alone in his room, with the Holy Sacrifice being offered on his food tray. Those were absolutely remarkable days for me that exercised an enormous influence in shaping me into the man I would become.
I remember one day during the consecration, Fr. Al was overcome with emotion and paused for at least two minutes after he set down the chalice. He said, “Oh, your love! How you love. How I love you! I could die of joy…” I felt embarrassed to be there, such a terrifyingly intimate moment. Then I thought of his 55 years in active ministry before he was forced by a stroke to retire. How much he had seen, endured. And after all that time he was like this. Not callous, bitter, cynical, apathetic — but joyful, in love.”
Whatever our circumstances, may we all be joyful in love today. With thanks and love to all my readers–don’t get in any family fights!