Rev. Dr. Violet Lee
– Pope John XXIII
What happens when we consider the human race an immense family? What is it that we have done to our loved ones, our family members? How have we experienced family? How do we define family? Have we loved in a way that shares the spirit of Christmas?
Perhaps we will use these words by Pope John XXIII to motivate our actions in this Advent season. For if we truly believe that humankind is the “great… immense family” of God, then we may sincerely offer to our family members in need the necessities and pleasures of life we enjoy. The simple comforts that allow us shelter, food, sleep and other basic needs in life as defined in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs must be procured before we move on to consider one’s safety, even love and belonging. If so, we would strive to offer the same basic human comforts so many enjoy and take for granted at the expense of the marginalized, poor, and oppressed. If in this season of preparation, the true meaning of Advent causes us to rethink the human family, then God is pleased. We must prepare our hearts to receive the Christ Child, even though the biblical account made a new definition of family in bringing Mary and Joseph together for the sake of nurturing a young Jesus. Would we be so bold to think beyond limited, finite biological lineage? Are we ready to see the migrant farmer as our family member? Or give voice to the needs of our immigrant families in our beloved city, state, or nation? Do we see the needs of those with black and brown skin in the same vain as our own? In doing so, the heart is primed to receive and to give. As generous benefactors of humankind, we fully live into the meaning of Christmas when we consider the needs of others.
As we await the coming of the Savior of the world, let us remember his teaching in Matthew 15:20, “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” The true meaning in Christmas, indeed, comes to the grateful heart whose recognition of God’s greatest gift is to all. As we seek to prepare for the coming of the Christ Child, we remember that we are all connected, for indeed we are the family of God.
Prayer: Lord, help us to remember to be agents for change in the world. May we feel in our hearts the love you hold for each of us.