photo of Larry Snyder, President of Catholic Charities USA

A New Beginning

We’ve just emerged from the Christmas season, one of the most celebrated of Christian holidays, when we commemorate with awe and wonder the moment when God becomes one of us.  From the darkness comes light; in the worlds of John the evangelist, “what has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.” (Jn 1:3-4)  We reflect with amazement at how this tiny baby, born into such inauspicious circumstances, would teach us of the powerful love that God has for us, and who would tower over and within millions of lives two millennia later. In his Christmas homily, Pope Benedict teaches us that:

God’s sign is simplicity. God’s sign is the baby. God’s sign is that he makes himself small for us. This is how he reigns. He does not come with power and outward splendor. He comes as a baby – defenseless and in need of our help … God made himself small so that we could understand him, welcome him, and love him.

It is now January, a few days into the New Year. The parties and the merriment are over, the eggnog thankfully gone. We’re looking aghast at the scale and making resolutions to lose weight, to exercise, to spend less and read more.  Our minds are drifting forward.  As Catholics our Christmas season continues, though, not only for twelve days of Christmas, but for the whole year.  To do so means bringing the powerful gift of Christmas with us as we pick up pressing matters of our daily lives.  Can we include in our resolutions to remember that poor child, to see his face in all who are defenseless and in need of our help, to bring the hope of a new beginning to the least among us? It is one small step but it can bring about powerful and lasting change.  It is at the top of my list. I hope you will join me.