In some parts of the world, preparations for Christmas begin several months beforehand, and it’s easy to see why.
When Christmas finally comes, we feel we have arrived somewhere safe, somewhere we can rest a while from all that burdens us throughout the rest of the year. Jesus said, “Come to me all you that labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.” When we see the figure of the Christ child put into the crib during the Christmas Night Mass, these words come true as we feel ourselves welcomed by Mary and Joseph into their family, our true home.
And indeed, for quite a few people, Christmas is a time of tension and discomfort rather than of joy, especially those whose family life is not what they would want or what they had hoped for. And what of the number, increasing every year, of those who sleep rough on our streets? It is great that they are cared for by groups such as Crisis, but soon most of them will go back on the streets.
Whether our family life is happy or not, whether our lives are apparently in good order or a terrible mess, Jesus comes to us at Christmas, along with his Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, asking humbly to share all that we are going through. One who chose to be born in a stable is not going to be offended by the little we have to offer him. The only tragedy is not the mess we may have made of our lives, but not to let him come in and transform them in his own way and his own time.