Study: What one thing can you choose to do this Christmas to make it better?
Pray: Ask God for the help to do that one thing wisely and well!
Serve: How can you help someone make their Christmas better?
A Christmas Carol
Part V: Christmas Day
When Scrooge finally awakes on Christmas morning, he is a changed man. Filled with joy and newfound hope, he begins to live his life very differently from the day before. Reaching out to the people in his midst, Scrooge recognizes the beauty and richness that has always been around him.
Whether it’s buying an enormous turkey for the Cratchit family, wishing a small boy “Merry Christmas!”, accepting a dinner invitation at his nephew’s home, or raising Bob Cratchit’s salary, what we discover is that Scrooge is transformed. He has recognized something powerful in his life, and he is following a new course of action.
In the Gospel today Mary greets her kinswoman Elizabeth, who also recognizes something wonderful has happened. The baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaped for joy – a sign that God was present in a powerful way. Elizabeth understood that God was working in Mary’s life, and she responded to this insight accordingly.
There comes a moment in our lives when we discover something new. Perhaps we have seen a mistake in the past or regret an action that we have done; at these times we encounter a reason to hope and start over. We have a reason to live.
The reason? Christmas joy! Our lives are transformed by the grace of Christ; through the birth of Jesus all barriers between heaven and earth have been removed and we are united with God. Once we throw open the doors of our hearts, the power of the Christ child brings a renewal and healing – we live in hope!
It is this sense of hope which can give us new life. Emerging from doubt or despair, we rediscover that God walks with and among us – helping us in moments of sadness and leading us to peace. Yet God requires that we actively accept this invitation. The promise of hope needs our action, and it relies on our willingness to follow.
Scrooge provides an example for us. With the help of the Spirits of Christmas, he saw a world filled with very different possibilities. He discovered that he need not be unhappy; he could change his life and embrace the joys which were all around him. His willingness to see, judge, and act become an inspiration for us – reminding us that life gives us opportunities to change our ways and follow God’s call.
As Elizabeth recognized God’s presence in Mary, we too are invited to discover the Lord in our midst. May our eyes be open to see God among us, and may we respond with hearts that are open to the abundant love which is our inheritance.