The Never-Ending Christmas
Thoughts on the First Readings – Joe Frankenfield
Third Sunday in Advent
Isaiah 35:1-6, 10
Many have noted that every time a baby’s born God proves that he hasn’t given up on the world. Christmas celebrates the revelation. Every year we pause laying aside our troubles and absurdities to renew our astonishment that God still works with us.
Without in any way diminishing the birth of Jesus, God-with-us, it’s useful to think of that event not so much as the crisis in God’s relationship with the world but as the synopsis of God’s constant involvement with us. Billions of babies have been born into our world. Each birth has been God’s miraculous act; its source, God’s unconquerable creativity. Each birth has brought a new brain, new hands, new dreams: a new person for our future. Each life has searched out and pursued the fulfillment of life as best it could. Each one died unfulfilled yet having contributed. Each one will be present to and part of creation’s completion. This is Jesus’ story; it’s God’s story; it’s our story. That’s why when we understand Jesus, we understand ourselves.
Does contemplating our future or God’s actions in it make any difference? Does the story of Christmas and the Christmas of every birth do more than generate warm feelings of importance for lives inundated by the concerns of surviving and getting ahead? Are we searching for more than a way to give life lasting significance in the face of death’s permanence? These are unavoidable questions. Their answers remain an act of faith. Still we have to ask them.
We can’t prove the claims of our faith but they remain the bedrock of life for us and for millions. We refuse to accept that we live for nothing larger than ourselves. We are convinced that the good we do, small as it often seems, matters – forever. That’s the point of Christmas. That’s the meaning of every Christmas since the beginning of human history.