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Some things seem to happen automatically each Christmas. Smiles and laughter are easy to come by. We do our best to give gifts to loved ones, while being open and grateful when receiving one ourselves. Sharing with the poor and remembering the needy make the spirit of the season alive.  Prayers of thanksgiving and adoration are offered to God as we go to our dawn Masses, our Midnight Mass, or even just a quiet visit to the adoration chapel or an empty church. And who does not sing, or at least listen to, one of the favorite carols of the season, “Silent Night?”

This year, as we celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, we also celebrate the song that was composed for him, and performed for the first time, by a priest and a school teacher 200 years ago in a simple village near Salzburg in Austria. The song dedicated to Jesus and to the spirit of peace is sung today in almost every place where Christmas is celebrated. Let us use the lyrics of this song to reflect on the meaning of the Incarnation.

Silent night, holy night

All is calm, all is bright

‘Round yon virgin Mother and Child

Holy infant so tender and mild

Sleep in heavenly peace

Sleep in heavenly peace

In a country like ours, Christmas is rarely a silent event, what with all the parties and reunions, shows and parades, carolers and greeters at the door, and the lights and fireworks. And yet, the gospel of Luke reminds us of the night, both dark and chill, when people close their doors and snug up on their beds, expecting nothing extraordinary will happen. And yet, God chooses to work in the silence of the night, gently and without fanfare. Do we not often meet God in the silence of prayer, the solitude of walk home from work, or the calm in the house when everyone has gone to sleep? It is then that we realize many things, when we discover what has to be done, when we unravel God’s plan.

In the hustle and bustle of this season of merriment, let us take sneak in some moments when we can be alone with the Lord in prayer, Bible reading, Mass, or grateful visit to the Blessed Sacrament. Let us spend more time with the family and less on social media and gadgets, or outing with friends. The “Virgin Mother and Child” bond reminds us that the most important thing in life is relationship with our loved ones.

Silent night, holy night!

Shepherds quake at the sight!

Glories stream from heaven afar;

Heavenly hosts sing Al-le-lu-ia!

Christ the Savior is born!

Christ the Savior is born!

Not everybody is asleep and resting on a cold winter night. The angels appear to shepherds, maybe because the shepherds were the only ones awake at that time. This reminds us that in this time of relaxing, rejoicing and recharging, there are people who cannot afford to stop what they do because they need to survive. Be kind to the waiters who serve you in the restaurant, to the attendant at the gas station, the security guards you meet, the maids who need time for family and rest too, and the sales clerks at the malls. Notice the modern “shepherds” because they too are important in God’s eyes. In your kindness to them, you convey the message that “Christ the Savior is born!”

Silent night, holy night

Son of God, oh, love’s pure light

Radiant beams from Thy holy face

With the dawn of redeeming grace

Jesus, Lord at Thy birth

Jesus, Lord at Thy birth

Christmas is a time to look and see; to behold and appreciate; to remain and marvel at the goodness of the Lord. Burdened by the pressures of consumerism and materialism, let us break free by remembering to encounter this Child for whom the whole world sings this song – Jesus, Son of God, and Lord of history. Holy Mary, give us His love! St. Joseph share with us your joy! Jesus, our Lord and God, fill our hearts, our families, our country with your overflowing graces!

A Peaceful and Blessed Christmas Season to all!

thanks, Sis Josie!