Christmas: The Presence of Christ is Among Us
By Bishop David J. Malloy
The celebration of Christmas seems to bring the whole world to a joyous halt each year. Most schools and work are suspended. Armies at war have agreed to truces on that day. Families, neighbors and friends come together at Christmas, sometimes to strengthen the bonds between them. Other times they heal the sorrows and wounds of the past.
Not all of this happens only among those who are directly thinking about and honoring the birth of Jesus. Some, even without faith, have entered into the spirit and joy of Christmas lived by those around them. Still, it is undeniable that throughout the world the grace of Christmas can be seen to touch hearts and souls even all these years after the events in Bethlehem.
The story begins with the drama of Mary and Joseph urgently seeking shelter after a long and uncomfortable trip at the end of Mary’s pregnancy. The resulting happy birth, and the image of the primitive but comfortable stable with Joseph looking on as angels sing and shepherds come tramping in from the fields, moves even the hardest of hearts.
Still, in faith we are called to reflect even more deeply on the meaning of Christmas. Otherwise we fail to grasp the fullness of the gift that we, and the world, received on that night and celebrate even now.
In The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Queen Lucy comments at the end of time, “In our world too, a stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.” Her comment reflects on the truth that we can believe in faith and yet never completely grasp.
Our world was created by God and as we know from the Book of Genesis, God made everything good. We sense that good scattered throughout creation, from the beauty of the stars to the love we experience in our families. 
At the same time, how scarred and divided the world seems to be. We can’t escape the tragedies, the terrible divisions we are undergoing as a society and a world, and the pain and specter of death that awaits all who were born.
Even more, because of the sin of Adam and Eve, every one of us had no access to the end for which God made us: heaven and life with the Blessed Trinity. We were without hope.
Christmas is the breaking through of God in our world to renew His plan of salvation. Our hope is restored.
The child in the manger is one of us but most astonishingly, He is God. He is greater than we and beyond what we will ever be able to fully understand. 
This reality is the opportunity and the challenge for each of us. The presence of Christ among us is a gift. But His birth also requires each of us to stand and make our choice. We can use our free will to choose for the passing pleasures and honors of this world. Or we can make our choice for the purity and unending love brought to us by and in that child.
Even on Christmas Day we know that the child has come with a particular purpose. That is to forgive our sins and to bring us the love of God. Calvary awaits this child but so does the Resurrection.
How blessed we are to know of God’s love and to share a moment where we can adore the child today just as those shepherds and wise men did. The stable indeed held something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.
May all of you and your families share a most Blessed Christmas and New Year!