By Fr. Angelo Anthony, C.PP.S.
When we were children, waiting for Christmas was marked with hope and great anticipation for Santa’s arrival and the gifts he would bring. As adults our waiting for Christmas takes on a different meaning.
Like our ancestors of old we experience a longing and a desire in our hearts for the coming of our Savior in glory. Realizing our need for a Savior is key to celebrating the mystery of the incarnation at Christmas. If we don’t see the need for a Savior, then Christmas becomes just one more secular holiday to observe.
As Christians we believe that the mystery of the incarnation continues to unfold as we encounter Jesus in our daily lives and continue the work of building God’s Kingdom on Earth. Each day we live in hope as we enjoy already on Earth a foretaste of the glory to be revealed in heaven. This encounter with the living Lord stirs within us a greater desire to work for peace in imitation of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
With so many obstacles to peace present in our lives we may be tempted to let cynicism creep into our Advent journey. If you feel this temptation, ponder the message found in this parable by Joseph Jaworsky.
“Tell me the weight of a snowflake,” the sparrow asked the wild dove.
“Why, it weighs nothing more than nothing” replied the dove.
“In that case,” the sparrow said, “let me tell you a story. I sat on a branch of a fir tree close to its trunk. It began to snow . . . not heavily, not like a blizzard—no, just like a dream, delicately and peacefully.
“Since I didn’t have anything better to do, I decided to count the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles of my branch. The number was exactly 3,741,952. Then suddenly, as the next snowflake landed, weighing ‘nothing more than nothing’ as you say, the branch broke off.” With that, the sparrow flew away.
The wild dove thought to herself and said, “Perhaps there is only one person’s voice lacking for peace to come about in the world.”
Could it be that your voice is the one missing for peace to come about in the world? With so many conflicts present in our world, communities and families, there is no doubt that we need a Savior. Christ is counting on us to be authentic witnesses of his peace in the world.
This Advent, monitor your conversations both internally and externally. Do they reflect your need for a savior and your desire for peace? Watch for people who are instruments of peace around you and share their stories with others. Let these stories stir within your heart a greater desire to be a peacemaker in your own life and let this be your gift to the Christ child this Christmas season.