The Memorial of Saint Lucy
(Isaiah 40: 25-31, Matthew 11: 28-30)
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mat 11:28). We need to ponder these words as we continue on the runup to Christmas. As we franticly and anxiously prepare for the celebration of Christmas, we need to keep our focus on the person whose birthday we are preparing to celebrate. We also need to be mindful that when we are overworked and overburdened it is he who is our resting place. The cookies and the candies, the fancy meals, and desserts, the caroling and family gatherings are intended to help us celebrate the Birth of the Messiah, Christ the Lord.
As we consider our Christmas preparations, it is good to remember that God has been preparing for that day for all eternity. “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from the distant past, from ancient times” (Mic. 5:2).
As we fret over our ever-growing greeting card list, it is comforting to know that God has also sent greetings to announce His beloved Son’s coming. “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come” (Mal. 3:1).
As we bake the cookies and make the candies, it is good to know that God has also prepared a banquet for the occasion. “Wisdom has built a house; she has set up its seven pillars. She has prepared a sumptuous banquet and set out rich wines. She has also set an elegant table” (Pro. 9:1-2).
As we prepare the guestlist for our family gatherings, it is refreshing to know that God also has invited many people to his celebration. ‘Come, for the banquet is ready… Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor and the afflicted and the feeble and the blind.. so that my house will be full” (Lk. 14: 17, 21, 23)
As we gather around the Christmas tree to sing the traditional carols, it is good to recall the first Christmas concert on Bethlehem’s plain. “A great multitude of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those with whom He is well pleased” (Lk. 2: 13-14).
I think it is safe to say that God wants us to celebrate, liturgically and socially, the birth of his only-begotten Son. The reason for our joyful festivities is the fact that our Heavenly Father delights in us and desires us to have an abundance of life with and in His Son. As we do so, we are invited to find our rest and our joy close to the heart of Christ. Through all the preparations and celebrations, let us not forget the One Whose birthday we are commemorating. Wherever we gather whether as a family or as a Church may we see the glory that was displayed in the face of Christ shining in the faces of all we meet. To him be blessing, honor, glory, and dominion forever and ever. Amen.