Faith in Focus: Christmas can be eye-opening time

One of the great tragedies of being human is that we so easily take for granted some of the most amazing and astounding wonders of the world around us. How rarely we ponder the magnificence of creation, from the intricacy of the tiniest flower or insect to the grandeur of galaxies and the mind-blowing immensity of the cosmic web.
It’s all too easy for our world to become very, very small and for us to get insulated in a life of seeming ordinariness. We develop a routine, and before we know it, the joy of existing in this world gets dampened by the day-to-day humdrum. There is a grave risk today that even the utter momentousness of the Christmas event–the birth of a Child wholly divine and wholly human - could fall victim to our penchant for being unimpressed by extraordinary realities.
Some people intentionally downplay the importance of Christmas because they do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God. One might argue that holding this position requires even more faith than believing in Christ, especially in view of the overwhelming historical evidence that Jesus really is more than a mere man. Perhaps that’s a topic for another article.
The larger problem is that so many Christians, having lost the sense of wonder and excitement at the Savior’s birth, unintentionally lessen the impact that Christ’s coming ought to have on their lives and the lives of those around them.
If believers lived each day cognizant of the fact that the God of the universe, out of his humanly unfathomable love for us, bridged the gap between his own infinite greatness and our finite littleness by sending his Son to take on our nature so that we might enter into union with God, how different our days would be!
This reality has the power to transform our lives in joy, and when our lives are transformed in joy, the goodness of God spills over into the lives of our families and friends. Life improves for everyone.
It might seem like this would require a complete overhaul of the way we look at life - and, indeed, that might not be a bad idea for most of us–but perhaps the mountains don’t have to be moved just yet.
There is a way to begin the process of rediscovering the miraculous in our lives, and all it takes is a conversation.
This Christmas, quietly approach the Babe in the manger and ask him to reawaken within your heart and mind the amazement of the first Christmas. Look upon the Christ Child and meditate upon his holy face for a few moments. Ponder this incomprehensible gift with new eyes; consider the implications this gift has for your own situation in life.
Be sure, also, to take time to listen. Don’t spend all your time talking to Jesus; he wants to have a part in the conversation, too! Across the centuries, the Eternal Word of God echoes in our ears today, spoken anew just as it was in Bethlehem so many centuries ago.
You won’t find a better way to keep from taking for granted the Christmas Gift than to pray every day. Bring him your worries and talk to him about everything going on in your life. You may not always “hear” his answer, but if you keep praying with an open heart, he will be the star to guide you on the right path. And - guaranteed — he will never cease to amaze you.
­— Father Kenny St. Hilaire is the pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Colville, Sacred Heart Parish in Kettle Falls, and Pure Heart of Mary Parish in Northport. He can be reached at pastor@myparishfamily.org.