The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing....
When I was younger, maybe in late middle school and through high school, I loved going to Midnight Mass. It didn't matter whether I went to my home parish of St. Mary's or the parish of many of my friends, St. Francis of Assisi. I loved that Mass. There was something magical and special about it.
Last night I was sitting in our Immaculate Conception Chapel at the University of Dayton at the "Midnight Mass at 10:30 PM" reflecting on the celebration. I was reflecting on something that I didn't quite get growing up. What's special about celebrating the incarnation so late at night? Why does it speak to me so? We gather during the darkest hour to celebrate the fact that into the darkness has come the greatest of Lights. God has chosen to enter our world. Our world is good, for all things created by God are good. However, our world has its share of dark moments and people who walk in darkness. Our own lives have their share of dark days or dark times. And it is into this reality of ours that God enters. If we let that soak in... touch our hearts... it's an awesome reality.
And what does that mean for us today? Meister Eckhart, a late 13th / early 14th century German Dominican priest, philosopher and theologian once wrote:
We are all meant to be mothers of God. What good is it to me if this eternal birth of the divine Son takes place unceasingly, but does not take place within myself? And, what good is it to me if Mary is full of grace if I am not also full of grace? What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to his Son if I do not also give birth to him in my time and my culture? This, then, is the fullness of time: When the Son of Man is begotten in us.Indeed, how Marianist of him!
Our world and our lives are still in need of light - of joy - peace - comfort - love. What good is it if Jesus came then, but does not also come through us now? This is our call: to be Christ-bearers in our world today. That is very much in keeping with a Marianist perspective. For, as Marianists, we see our mission as continuing the mission that is Mary's - manifesting Christ in our world.
Celebrating today is important. It is important for us to remember that God became one of us out of God's great love for us. However, it does us no good as a people if our celebrations end today and have no lasting meaning into the days ahead. So, let us carry the celebration of Christmas forward so that Christ might be born in each day.
Many blessings for a peaceful and joy-filled Christmas,