The presence of Christ in Christmas: Taken from Fr. Hector Chiapa's writings
It was the night before Christmas, perhaps right after the Midnight Mass Blessed John Paul II had just celebrated. He was walking back from St. Peter’s Basilica to the Apostolic Palace, when all the sudden he stopped by one of the Swiss Guards standing at attention. The Pope told the young man that he hadn’t seen him before and the man, whose name is Andreas answered by saying that he was new in the Guard. When John Paul II then pointed out to him that this probably was his first Christmas away from home, Andreas silently cried while acknowledging the fact. The Pope then encouraged him with kind words and thanked him warmly for his generous service to the Church.
Later on, in reflecting upon that night, the young man recalled how sad he was feeling on that first Christmas away from home and how his sadness became more acute when he actually walked by at least fifteen men whom he knew and not one of them expressed any sympathy or compassion to him. It was the man who was in charge of the spiritual lives of billions of men, with the world in his heart and problems in his mind beyond the wildest imagination of most people. This man was the only one who showed he cared for him. John Paul II showed him great care and compassion. That experience changed Andreas’ life and from that day on, he realized that faith in Christ is meant to change one’s way of life and to be intentional upon making a positive impact on other people’s lives. In reflecting about his experience of serving as a Swiss Guard for John Paul II, he says: “I wasn’t strongly religious when I went into the Guard, so in that sense, I had a great opportunity to return to the faith . . . What I was left with very early on, before I even found my faith, was that this man (JP II) has what I want. He was the most fully human person I’ve ever met in my life. This wasn’t a guy who had wings and walked around without making any noise . . . I saw this man, and I thought, Wow, that’s how I want to live.”
My brothers and sisters, today we celebrate Christmas. We rejoice with the birth of Christ in human flesh. But we do not simply remember a wondrous miracle that took place a couple of thousand years ago. We actually celebrate the mystery of our faith: God made man and born in this valley of tears out of love for us. In a mysterious but very real way, the Son of God wants to be born within our hearts. He wants to be the center of our life, the heart of our heart. If we allow him to do so, his Divine life will live through our own life. His love will be the love with which we will love one another, and in loving others with the love Christ has loved us first, we will make a difference in the world, one person at a time, making the loving presence of Christ present in a life changing way for each person whose path we cross in this world. This is what Christmas is all about.
This is what holiness is all about.
Merry Christmas! .