Each year, as the Christmas season rolls around, I look to see if there are any new Christmas stories that speak of this special time. In the past I have used the story of the Kneeling Santa, the story of the Candy Cane, the story of the Shepherd, the Golden Slippers, and the story of the Golden apple, to help children experience this special time. All the stories help us to capture the essence and importance of the Christmas season. Of course, the most important story is the one we hear proclaimed in Church on Christmas from the Gospel of St. Luke, chapter 2, which is the story of how Jesus Christ was born into our world.
Stories are important for human beings, and during this time of the year, when families gather to share meals, presents and good times, I am sure many stories are shared that speak of relationships, special events, new discoveries and dealing with good times and difficult times. As we relate to the Christmas stories around us, let us look carefully at the story of our world and what is happening in our societies today. We hear of distrust, fake news, competition, rivalry, the need for power and control, and we hear of those who are hurt, abused, manipulated, forced to flee for safety and not welcomed by countries. These stories are difficult to hear, and do not seem to be in keeping with the true spirit of Christmas and the news of peace and goodness that Jesus brings.
Should these difficult stories mar our Christmas spirit? I think not. But they do give us cause to see what we can do, in a spirit of generosity and outreach, to help those who are hurting, alone and afraid. During this season we share and express our generosity to those who are less fortunate, in appreciation for the abundance of things that bless our own lives.
The wonderful Christmas stories help us to enjoy this season of faith and family in a special way. As we make our own story through our lives and relationships with others, may it be a story that truly reflects the spirit and meaning of Christmas. Christ came into our world to bring us together in peace, to redeem us and to share with us everlasting life. We can be peace makers in our homes and families, we can help others to find hope in their sadness, and we can respect the great gift of life that we have and share with all people. Our story, lived in love, can help change the world.
May this Christmas season be a time to make our story one that brings Christ to others by our good works and generosity. In doing so, we will capture to true essence of Christmas, and in our prayer, let us work for peace among all peoples and all nations. A Merry and a Holy Christmas to all.
Bishop Fred J. Colli
Bishop of Thunder Bay