For our own family this year we, like so many others, have struggled with profound loss, loss unsought, the loss of someone very dear to us. Pain, loss, and suffering comes in many sizes and shapes, forms seen and unseen by others, yet so very real, so very solid … even intimidating.
Yet as the days have become seasons and we have approached Christmas, a whisper in my heart has become a clear voice … death has definitely not had the last word, the suffering has not been without deep meaning, leading even to comfort and moments of joy, and along the way to peace, deep peace.
How is this posslbe?
A Savior. The Savior. The One “who makes all things new” … before He could make all things new He first had to enter human history, had to enter into the flow of time, had to enter into our very existence.
Today He has done that, today He opens up the possibilities of answers to all our questions, salve for our wounds, meaning for our lives.
From the prophet Isaiah, excerpted from the readings of Mass during the Night, Solemnity of Christmas:
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing …
For the yoke that burdened them … you have smashed…
For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
Several hundred years later the events the prophet foretold transpired, and what it means to be human was forever changed. From the Gospel of St. Luke (idem):
… The angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid;
for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.
For today in the city of David
a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.
And this will be a sign for you:
you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes
and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,
praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
The invitation that is custom made for each of us is simple … make this our own, seek understanding, turn towards the only answer that will ultimately satisfy.