With losing two relatives this year, this Christmas, admittedly, does not have the usual pomp and circumstance that I’ve experienced in the past. It’s a sad-Rudolph-sort-of-Christmas, involving the joy of the season intermingled with moments of grief and memories of Christmases past that can no longer be relived. It’s in times like these that French theologian Charles de Foucald’s quote rings true, and is a reminder to all of us of the real importance of Christmas:
Let us thank God a thousand times if in the sadness which invades us it seems to us as if we are rejected by the world. The depression and suffering, the bitterness with which we seem sometimes to be soaked to be soaked, were the lot of Our Lord on earth. Are we not fortunate to share them? We should pity the happy people. Pity those whose happiness, even though it be quite legitimate and innocent, keeps them attached to the world. God is good that he has so despoiled us of everything, that we can draw breath only by turning our heads towards him. How great is his mercy, how divine his goodness, for he has torn everything from us in order that we may be more completely his. So the sufferers are the happy ones through the goodness of God. In suffering, I give thanks. May these days of Christmas festival bring you, in your suffering I do not say consolation, but the blessing God intends for you. The child Jesus will perhaps not give you any sweetness, – he reserves that for the weak ones, – but his hand will none the less be spread to bless you in these days of Christmastide, and whether you feel it or no, he will pour abundant grace into your soul (from Meditations of a Hermit).
Amen. To all who are grieving or are in places of suffering, may the grace and blessing of Jesus be upon each of you.