This time of year places so many strains on already strained lives. Parties, gifts, family and friends, expectations and aspirations tend to add up making the blessed feast of the Nativity in the flesh of our Lord God and Saviour (Christmas) something that we just want to get over.
We go out of our way to be generous and grateful and end up finding ourselves somehow oblivious to fasting, to the services of the Church, and to the sacraments offered to us.
It is not that this kind of reaction is unfair or unjustified; in fact, there are plenty of excellent excuses that make doing anything other than a token visit to Church on Christmas (if at all!) totally understandable. Life is just like that sometimes.
But if we let “life” and all of its legitimate concerns and cares dictate our actions, “life” (even including Christmas, Pascha, marriage, children, charity and outreach) will simply be a series of actions and routines, not encounters with the majesty or wonder bestowed on us, yet these encounters are the elements and instances, that provide the content for what life is really all about, and that give a reason to live.
We hear the call of the shepherds by the Angel on that blessed Nativity, but imagine if they, even in wonder, had just made a note of it and put it into the queue with all the other important and relevant work they had to do. The awe and wonder of this miracle would simply have become another item to take care of and not the first public proclamation of the Incarnation, of the Lord acting to save humanity (Lk. 2:8-20)
How all those important and relevant thins that fill our life pale in comparison with the wonder of the heavens and the Angelic cry of “Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth Good will towards all men” (Lk 2:14). If only we would stop and look up and see it.
This season of preparation offers us the chance to see the wonder of all creation as it sings praises to our King and God. We stand in awe and wonder before our Lord who empties Himself totally taking the form of servant (Phil 2:7), that He might share his immortal Glory with us His creation. In this season especially, we can see all of creation stand in reverence at this incomparable miracle. And we can profoundly see that each and everyone we encounter is created in the image and according to the likeness o the Lord. This is truly a wonder.
Like those blessed shepherds may we have the inspiration lift to up the eyes of our heart, even if for a moment, from those important and relevant things that encumber us, and see the Lord Acting and saving.