A few years ago I was writing a letter to a dear friend of mine. At the end of the letter, I wrote a simple cliche: "may God always be with you."
Immediately as I wrote it, I realized what a silly phrase it was. The truth is that no request is needed: God is always with us.
Christmas is a confirmation of this reality. Christmas shows us that God is always faithful to his promises, but he often surprises us in the way he fulfills them. In the time before Jesus's birth, the expectation of the Messiah was very strong in Israel.
The people expected a hero who would at last set the people free from every form of moral and political slavery. They expected someone who would "beat spears and swords into plowshares and pruning hooks" and end the scandal of war.
The child that was born in Bethlehem did indeed bring liberation, but not only for the people of that time and place. He was born to be the Savior of all people throughout the world and throughout history.
And it was not a political liberation that he brought, achieved through military campaign. Instead Jesus destroyed death for ever and restored life by means of his shameful death on the Cross.
And while he was born in poverty and obscurity, far from the cultural and political centers of earthly power, he was none other than the Son of God.
No one would ever have imagined that the Messiah could be born of a humble girl like Mary, the betrothed of a good and faithful man, Joseph. Nor would she herself have ever thought of it, and yet in her heart the expectation of the Savior was so great, her faith and hope were so firm, that he was able to find in her a worthy and holy mother.
My dear friend, Christmas is the proof that God never grows tired of loving you. God has come to be with you in Jesus, the one who pitched a tent among us and shared our lot.
Even in the midst of your greatest difficulties, your greatest heartbreaks and your greatest failures, God chooses to walk with you along the way of life.
His love for you is without conditions. To accept his love and to share it with others is the challenge of our lives. On this Christmas, consider sharing the message of God's redeeming love with another person, especially with one of your enemies or with someone who is lonely, ashamed or exhausted this holiday season. It need not be grandiose. Sincerity is the only requirement.
As we celebrate this sacred feast, I would like to remind you that this organization above all intends to be a community of Jesus. If you or someone you know is in great need of prayers this Christmas, please add them to our community prayer book. We promise to pray for them throughout the Christmas season.
The message of Christmas is simple: you are loved.
May God's presence in your life and his free gift of love transform you. I promise to keep you in prayer during this great holiday season, and I humbly ask you to keep me and the entire organization in yours as well.
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good