The gift of Christ’s presence

The gift of Christ’s presence

This Gaudete or Rejoice Sunday, we light three candles, two purple and one pink, of the four candles of the Advent wreath. The pink candle of the Advent wreath symbolizes our joy of realizing that Christmas is at hand.

We rejoice at the nearness of our celebration of the event that has made God present in our humanity. We rejoice at the fast approaching celebration of Christ’s birth that has made God present among us, in the sacraments and in prayer, in our daily life and in the signs of the times, in other people and in occasions of serving one another. We see and feel Christ’s presence in people whose lives reflect His love, mercy and forgiveness. Although harder to see and understand, God is also with us in pain and suffering.

As we hasten towards Christmas, let us offer the gift of Christ’s presence to our loved ones as well as to those who need most our love, especially this season. Let us be more generous with our gift giving, knowing that we give on behalf of Him who gave up his life for our sake.

We give the gift of Christ’s presence even with gifts that come free for our sharing: the gift of listening, the gift of affection, the gift of laughter, the gift of solitude, the gift of favor, the gift of a written note, the gift of a compliment or the gift of a cheerful disposition.

As a community, we share the gift of Christ’s presence through the gift of hospitality to newcomers, the gift of acceptance to those feel alienated or isolated or the gift of recognition to those who always do the “behind the scenes” work.

As Christmas approaches, let us share the giftedness of our life that has been redeemed by God’s becoming human in Jesus Christ. Those of us who are struggling with difficulties and challenges at this time of the year understand that the approach of the Christmas season can make our life more stressful or even more painful. As a people, we become the sacrament of Christ’s healing presence in our midst. Our Eucharistic celebration, in which we are transformed into bread broken for others, speaks of our being “wounded healers”. In our brokenness, we rejoice as a source of healing through Christ who is the bread broken for all of us.