What would a child be like that was conceived by the Holy Spirit, an act seeming so impossible and improbable? How do we understand such a child? Here is an equally profound question: How do we understand the working of the Holy Spirit in us—and the conception of Jesus in us, too? The substantive weight of scripture of this truth, however, is much like the appearance of the angel to Joseph and Mary—because God wants Jesus to come alive in all of us, too. He wants us to become as Jesus in our world and to our world, and He promises to do this by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Today (this weekend) along with celebrating the birth of Jesus into our world, we also celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. I like to think that we are all parts of holy families. We hear about the struggle of Jesus’ family; and we hope to be strengthened in all our own family struggles, too. We listen to good advice in the Old Testament Reading (in the Books of Wisdom) from the Book of Sirach for all the members of a family: the younger and the older. In the Second Reading from the First Letter of St. John (Year C) we are reminded that as the family of God, we are all God’s children. (All of us—not just some of us…) We are reminded to love one another and to keep the commandments—something we tell each other and (hopefully) try to do in our own personal families. My prayer is for God’s blessing on all families however you may define them─by blood or by love—nuclear, blended, adopted, invented. May all the children of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit; and all our families be blessed by God—and be a blessing for those around them.
We celebrate that God came into our world in Jesus Christ, conceived in the womb of Mary without the intervention of a human father. Let's remember that God wants to come into our world through us: our words, our influence, our character, our actions, our unconditional love, our conversion, our work, our witness and our transformation. The same Spirit that conceived and empowered the Lord Jesus is also at work in all of us to conform us to Jesus, and to empower us to serve like Him.
In these holy-days of Christmas and in the new year to come, let us re-awaken our hearts to the wonders of God's grace in the birth of Jesus from the womb of Mary, and in the birth of Jesus into our lives. Both of these miraculous realities are necessary to show God's grace to our world. Let us commit to truly live the life of Jesus before our dark and unbelieving world so that the people around us can know of God's grace, mercy, and love through us. Instead of being the Inn and turning Jesus away, now “Ours the Hearts He seeks for lodging.” Have a very happy and peaceful Christmas, celebrating the birth of our salvation into the world, and into our hearts and our holy families.