The Christmas season in its actual Christian meaning wants to move our hearts and have an effect in them also this year. It wants to leave a glow in our hearts. The charming sounds of the Christmas songs can really put us in the mood, yet it can really only be Christmas when it occurs in our hearts and in our human being together. It will be Christmas for us when the light of faith glows in us, faith in Jesus, the much loved Son of the heavenly Father.
In a nocturnal discussion with Nicodemus, Jesus summarizes the secret behind his person:
“Yes, God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him may not die but may have eternal life. God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world be saved through him…..The judgment of condemnation is this: the light came into the world, but men loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were wicked. Everyone who practices evil hates the light; he does not come near it for fear his deeds will be exposed. But he who acts in truth comes into the light to make clear that his deeds are done in God.” (John 3, 16-20)
Standing in the light of truth
How do we come to the light? How does mankind come out of the darkness of evil into the light of the truth? That is the question that haunts the religions. How important dialogue between the religions is was again evident during this past year in view of the persecuted and martyred Christians. Because it is not just about understanding the other and raising questions about the other. Most of all it has to do with the search to come closer to the truth. Pope Benedict XVI spoke about this in his last Christmas talk to the Diplomatic Corps on December 21 2012. He wished that the Christian in dialog with others “would have the great basic trust, yes, the great basic certainty that he could peacefully go out into the open sea of truth without having to fear for his identity as a Christian. Certainly, we do not have the truth, but it has us: Christ, who is the truth, has taken us by the hand and we know his hand holds us firmly on the path of our struggling for knowledge. For people, this inner being held by the hand of Christ makes us free and at the same time, secure. Free—when we are held by him, we can enter into every dialog openly and without worry. We are secure because he will not let go of us if we do not ourselves let go of him. One with him we stand in the light of truth.”
Mary – Model and Mother
What we need in order to remain with him, Pope Benedict continues, is the listening readiness for the nearness of God, to remain interiorly on the look out and so be on the way to the Lord. The model for this listening readiness is Mary, the mother of the Lord. She gave birth to the Savior in Bethlehem. Her permanent task is to be the mother of all those who belong to Christ. Mary also has this task for our time today; this was deepest conviction of Father Kentenich. She gave birth to the Savior in Bethlehem, she will also bear him anew today in the Schoenstatt shrines. Here she accepts all who entrust themselves to her and cares that they become like her Son, firm, joyful Christians.
My heart – your crib
Again and again we beg the Blessed Mother during this Christmas time that she may give us her divine Child, so that the radiance of the divine Child can mark our life in the New Year. Father Kentenich prayed at Christmas 1928:
“Mother, give me your little child. Do not take the cold dreary stall as a cradle, but take my heart. My heart is decorated a little. It is longing for your Child. My heart should be his cradle. Mother, give us all your child today. And we promise you: we will love and greet him like you did. You knelt adoring before your Child. I kneel adoring before the same Child in my heart.
You dedicated all the affection of your heart, you gave him love, gave him strength of sacrifice. All these virtues, all these affections I want to also give him today. And I want to pour all my suffering, all my guilt into the heart of this little Child. Then in the future I am no longer alone. I do not carry myself, the Child carries me… Mother, with your Child, also give us all today anew, an intimate, warm passionate love for him… Mother with your loving Son bless us each and everyone. Amen.”
(This Impulse is a shortened and slightly changed version of a contribution in the Christmas letter of the Adoration Sisters.)