The Peace of Christmas is a Great Gift for Us
By Bishop David J. Malloy
Each year, we come to the special day on the calendar that is Christmas. There is a special sense that seems to pervade life and the world on that day. An extra grace of peace, of purpose to our lives, is given to us if we are willing and open to receiving it.
The image of Christ’s birth is surrounded by a peace. The angels tell frightened shepherds to hurry and see the newborn savior. But they console them by saying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Lk 2: 14).
The classical images of what the shepherds and the Wise Men saw in the stable add to our sense of calm and true peace of soul. 
No riches or finery adorned that stable. The mother quietly holds her child. She reminds us of the essence of a mother’s love that by God’s plan children experience without having merited it. 
Almost certainly they are staying in a stall with animals near, thereby further uniting all of creation with the birth of Jesus.
We have so many distractions in the moment-to-moment of modern life. A radio always seems to be playing or the television blaring. However, the scene of Christmas suggests a healthy and reflective silence as the family comes together with the newborn and the shepherds are filled with the presence in the flesh that the world has never before known.
In Mary there is a serenity as she looks on Jesus and the flow of unexpected visitors to welcome the newborn king. She is the best of all believers as well as the model mother because she “kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Lk 2: 19). 
At this moment she is the fulfillment of that magnificent image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, vested in maternity clothes, waiting for the day that now has come.
St. Joseph is often depicted looking on. As a good husband and father he is probably already praying and worrying about details to fulfill his task to care for mother and child. And along the way, as a good man, his faith is deepened and his salvation worked out by his place in the Holy Family.
Of course the peace of the Christmas celebration goes beyond domestic tranquility. The family is the context for this step in the fulfillment of God’s plan for the world and for each of us.
That child is the Son of God. He is the savior who has come at long last to save us from the consequences of the sin of Adam and Eve and from our own sins.
The challenge of our place and time is that we live in an era so taken with science, so satisfied with our material abundance that is historically unheard of, that we are tempted to forget about God and about sin. If Christmas had not happened and Jesus had not come, we would be left in eternal death. The birth of Jesus is a crucial step in the offer to each of us to share in eternal life and the fulfillment of what we have been made to be.
We pass many crib scenes at this time of year, in homes and even in public places. We hear not just “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls,” but numerous sacred and evocative Christmas hymns.
Let’s use this Christmas to think about Jesus and the Holy Family. Let’s recall for the good and peace of our souls what a great gift Christmas was and is.
To all, a Blessed Christmas Season and New Year!