Christmas Message 2012
In the days following the ravages of Hurricane Sandy, there was a story that appeared about a woman’s encounter upon returning home to the remains of her house. Amidst the debris of things large and small she found intact her set of Hummel Angels. They looked as beautiful and precious as always. The sight of them served as a reminder for her that God was with her and that she was not alone and that, while the days were challenging, the message of the angels remained the same – God is with us.
Certainly, while the sorrow found in the ten days before this Christmas is beyond comprehension and will never be forgotten, at Christmas we are reminded again that God is with us.
Each Christmas I like to focus on different persons present at the first Christmas and this year it seems so appropriate to focus on those who are celestial. Those who possess the innocence and beauty of children and who God holds so very close to himself, the Angels.
In the Miraculous Medal Shrine here in Philadelphia, it is easy to think about angels. They are all over the place. The three major pieces in this sanctuary each contain angels. The rotunda of the sanctuary is full of angels gazing down upon us. The Shrine has angels large and small. Remember it was an angel about the age of six who led Catherine Laboure down to her encounter with Mary.
And of course, the Nativity set has one representing the Choir of Angels that gathered in Bethlehem that night.
Angels bring us to God. They are God’s messengers and today they remind us that God is with us.
The task of the Christmas angels was to bring the message of hope that we are not alone, that as difficult as life may seem, that its burdens are carried with us by God himself who came and lived among us. If we recall from the Gospels, he comforted those who mourned, fed the hungry, clothed the naked, healed the sick, and gave hope to those who found the burden too great to carry.
The angels first brought that message to the shepherds who were alone in the fields – God is with us.
Once again in the reading of the Gospel, the angels bring the message to us – Rejoice, God is with us.
May we, this Christmas 2012, hear the message and be that message in the way that we make this child present every day to those we, Vincentians, serve the poor, to those most in need of hope, to a world in need of light.
The Angels are all around us. May we join them in singing Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace and goodwill to all.