We’ve all witnessed the moving scenes of people at airports reunited after months of separation by the COVID-19 lockdowns and border closures.
Phone calls, emails, Facebooking and Zooming are better than nothing. But they’re not the same.
Intimacy requires proximity. Friendship means ‘being there’ for someone, being ‘close’ to those ‘nearest and dearest’ to us, not ‘drawing away’ from them.
True friendship yearns for in-person connection, ‘up close and personal’. That’s what the Christmas story is all about.
When the Christ-child was born in a stable, God was saying to every pauper: I’m here for you.
When he suckled at his mother’s breast, God said to every family: I’m here with you.
When the family fled from brutal Herod, God was telling every refugee: I’m here for you.
When the grown man healed the blind and lepers, God said to the sick, confused and alienated: I’m here with you.
When he died and rose, God was telling every mortal being: I’m here for you—and there is more to come.
Christmas is the story of God-made-man holding out his hand in friendship to humanity. The offer is real, tangible, personal, even physical.
After two years of isolation, we need it more than ever. In such dark times, Christmas is a ray of light, a sliver of hope.
Christmas is our chance to renew our love, to gather, reacquaint, make amends, exchange hugs and gifts that say friendship.
Christmas is our chance to renew our hope, to look forward to a better 2022, to an end to pandemic and the infinite possibilities of the future.
God bless us all in the new year ahead. May the Christmas Babe find a home in the manger of our hearts!