Another Christmas draws near,
as the lands where Jesus lived
seem as far as ever from the peace
promised by angels at his birth
to men and women of good will.
The birth of Jesus cannot be consigned
to the past, said St John Paul II
in declaring the Jubilee Year of 2000;
‘the whole of human history stands
in reference to him,’ said the pope;
‘our own time and the future of the world
are illumined by his presence.’
How does Christ’s light fall on us today?
What changes to our lives does his coming invite?
Jesus ‘is the special newness which surpasses
all human expectations’ and by his grace,
we are renewed. The church, says the pope,
‘is the living presence of the love of God,
who leans down to every human weakness,
to gather it into the embrace of his mercy.’
As we prepare our hearts and homes
for this Christmas, may we know anew
that we are to be that living sign of God’s love,
reaching out to whatever human weakness
is within our power to embrace;
not to judge or condemn, but to heal
with our touch, as only love can.
May Christ be born again in us;
may the warmth of his love
shine from us. Amen.
These prayers originally appeared as part of the monthly reflection Imaging Mercy Today, written by Dennis Horton, a member of He Waka Tiaki, the mission team of Tiaki Manatu Mercy Ministries New Zealand. They may be reproduced and used with acknowledgment.