The Light of Hope: A Christmas Reflection on Divine Love

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By Sister Lilian Silva

In several Bible passages, we find stories that explore the subject of love in its many stages and manifestations. Love is present throughout the entire narrative; it is nothing less than a love story: that of God being revealed throughout history. For me, the affirmation here is clear: God always continues to manifest God’s own self.

Christmas time takes on a solemn character for the church, which is invited to proclaim that there is only one God and who is, moreover, the Lord of all time. There is no love comparable to that of God. The gift of the baby Jesus enriches both the church and the world, its presence being the motivation for renewal.

We all know the characteristics of the context in which it manifests itself today. We cannot forget the reality in which we live: a world that suffers from economic, political, social and environmental problems. This is a reality that forces thousands of people to leave their countries and loved ones as migrants, often due to climate change. Thousands of families are affected by war, while others suffer different levels of violence that even affect a right as basic as leaving one’s home without fear of being robbed, murdered, kidnapped or worse.

In the midst of this somber global reality with so much moral and material poverty, the liturgy and the Christmas festivities present us with a messenger who brings good news: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation and saying to Zion, “Your God is King!” (Isaiah 52:7)

God once again becomes present because God is faithful and doesn’t forget the people. This time of grace offers us an enormous gift: a child resting in his mother’s arms, carrying light in his heart. This gift announces the peace so longed for in our hearts and by the entire world. It brings us the hope of a God who is the “Word” and who seeks to communicate, bringing joy to those who await God.

Despite the secularization and political polarization that generates so much confusion among the people who suffer most, God wants to be our companion, to walk with the people of God and offer us, through Jesus, “life,” “true illumination” and “salvation.” We are invited to cultivate hope and faith in this God Child, inspiring us to keep moving against the grain, to be “life” for our sisters in our ministries, in society, in the great and small spaces we inhabit, to help others grow in this “hope;” “shining” daily with his light, because it is the light that shows its splendor amidst the darkness. (John 1:5)

As we contemplate the nativity scenes in these days, I invite you to recognize Christmas as the birth of hope, a promise kept, the today, tomorrow and yesterday of our lives, in the world and the universe. It is the moment of incarnation, as well as silence, contemplation, illumination, response and adoration. It is simplicity and humility.

With lights shining on our trees and the aroma of freshly baked cookies in the air, we open our hearts and embrace this God Child, this love made flesh, who wishes to experience a love story with each of us; that of hope, life and salvation.

“Let all the angels of God worship him!” (Hebrews 1:6)