ARE YOU WAITING FOR CHRISTMAS?
FR. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
People say so often that they wait for Christmas with longing. Does everyone really wait for Christmas? How are you waiting for Christmas?
Christmas has a universal, theological and Trinitarian dimension. It says about Christian religion, God’s arrival in the world, about the work of redemption. For the man being aware that God about whom the Holy Scripture says: ‘whom nobody has ever seen’ (see J1.18), comes in the person of the Baby, in order to reveal himself to the humankind and say the man the most important thing for him: that he loves him with eternal love – it is even shocking mystery. For it goes beyond human understanding and nearly causes dizziness. Are we are aware of the fact that God comes to the world and becomes one of us?! That he takes on the human nature and reveals the man unusual things, among the others, the will of his salvation and showing him his grace? From God’s side it is a proposition of human birth, his entering God’s family and accepting him as God’s child. Jesus Christ is real God and a real man. After his passing away God sends the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier of humankind, who brings the man grace binding him with God for ever through the mystery of baptism and other sacraments.
God speaks through the Church
Together with Christmas, we start being aware of Christ’s Church – a community of believers connected with God in the Only Holy Trinity. This Church, being still in way, is serving to God and the man on the earth. From God’s will, from Jesus Christ’s will the history of salvation takes place through the Church and with the Church. We, the great community of Jesus Christ’s believers, should realize the fact that thanks to His grace we are the closest to Him. Unfortunately, we notice how strong forces are engaged in the fight against the Church, wanting to destroy it, discourage people from it. For, the Church is a visible sign pointing to God’s presence. In the human community, the Church has an extremely important mission of proclaiming the Gospel, the Good News about salvation and passing God’s love through sacramental action. There is no other possibility of personalization of the gift of Christ in human life, than in the Church and through the Church.
The Church has many ways of action which have been dictated to it through the Holy Spirit for over 2 thousand years. Documents of the Vatican Councils, synods, conferences and many bishopric congregations show how lively and realistically the Church is acting in the world.
The Year of Faith has no ending
This year the message of Christmas must be exceptionally strongly heard. We say it after the end of the Year of Faith. How many experiences were accompanying us at that time, as well as how many reminders and propositions! Many of them were passed to us by ‘Niedziela’, referring to the words of the pope Benedict XVI announcing the Year of Faith, and later to the statement of the pope Francis, who was realizing messages of the Year of Faith in a simple and an extremely convincing way. On our pages prominent theologians, publicists and pastors expressed their opinions, who gave their reflections about faith and pastoral experiences. Also it results from talks with readers that the content of the Year of Faith was a contribution of beautiful and wise experiences to which it is necessary to return. Because the issue connected with faith is always up to date and alive. The Year of Faith is really a wonderful idea of Benedict XVI, which turned out to be a sign of hope for humankind endangered by atheism, being the biggest evil for the world.
Therefore, I think that Christmas A.D. 2013 is somehow a continuation of deeper experiences of the Year of Faith which enlivened and develops our faith. It would be unpleasant if a pastor did not notice how believers were and are grateful for well-established faith which was realized by St. Paul or much later and in a different reality of St. Jan Maria Vianney and many others. This faith which is noble and is aiming at perfection, has been accompanying the Church in the last months and was bringing God’s people onto the paths of more and more trustfulness to God and Christ, our Redeemer. Trustfulness to God, which is born in soul of a believer follower of Christ makes him feel happy and fulfilled. Can there be anything more beautiful than fulfillment through life with faith and motivation deriving from faith and through grace of God accompanying such a life?
Christmas – the source of the truth and love
Faith strengthens human life on the earth and gives sense to human behaviours – somebody living without faith, at one moment becomes very poor, loses the sense of his existence. Thanks to faith, expressed also in the culture of the human community, we exist in something beautiful, also in a kind of an order of our actions. Faith gives human life and action a fresh breath. The community which decides to live with faith, becomes something more than only a group fulfilling its tasks and purposes. Because a guarantor of its unity, the main advisor and the giver of life is God. Thanks to His grace, thanks to God’s vision of the man on the earth, everything in the human action becomes more understandable, full of wisdom and beauty. In the Gospel any rights of metaphysics which say: ‘Ens et bonum convertuntur, ens et verum convertuntur’ – God is the biggest good of the man, the biggest beauty and the biggest truth’. In the good, beauty and the truth God’s presence and the greatness of the man are realized.
These most beautiful values of the human life and actions have their beginning and their still current support in the mystery of Christmas. Therefore, the fact that we say we are waiting for Christmas, conceals a lot of meanings – certainly, I mean these ones concerning faith. Because in the mystery of God’s birth there is the man connected with God through faith and thanks to it, experiencing the most wonderful adventure of his life. This mystery is illustrated by these words: ‘Et Verbum caro factum est’ – And the Word became the body’ (J.1.14)….This word is the small Baby Jesus who has been born for us today….