DECEMBER 24, 2020

The season of Christmas and particularly Christmas Day is a time of celebration and joy.

We celebrate the eternal Word becoming flesh, God becoming one like us and living with us.

We have numerous Christmas parties, decorate the Christmas tree, indulge in giving gifts and so on. This year these celebrations will be dampened on account of the pandemic. Healthcare workers are exhausted, hospitals are overcrowded, jobs and lives have been lost. There is fear and anxiety all around. Public health officials warn against small gatherings. Attending an in-person Eucharist in some places will not be possible. Even the Vatican has cancelled many of its Christmas events.

In the midst of the gloominess brought about by the pandemic, we hear in the reading from Isaiah “upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom, a light has shone.” Pope Francis after his December 6 Angelus reminds us that no pandemic or crisis can extinguish the light of Christmas, the light that is Jesus who reveals to us God’s love and who makes infinite goodness shine on the world. As we grapple with our fears and anxieties, the gospel reading tells us to not be afraid for unto us has been born a savior who is Christ the Lord.

Thus, today we are given much needed hope to help us deal with the difficulties and challenges of this pandemic. But we are also invited to be channels of hope to those who most need it as we strive to overcome the numerous inequalities and injustices that exist in our world and that the pandemic has revealed. Perhaps this pandemic Christmas might be a good time for us to truly allow the meaning of Christmas to enter our hearts and transform our lives.

And behold, God is born anew in and among us. And, a multitude of the heavenly host sing “Glory to God in the highest.”

Nicky Santos, S.J.