The Real Holiday

Biblical text: Luke 2:10-11

Here are the holidays, with their lights, their rejoicing, their gifts, their vacation… But it’s not a holiday for everyone! There are those who are ill, who mourn the death of a dear one, who are living the drama of a broken home, there is the recession, unemployment, lay-offs, the future with its distressing company of uncertainties… How many people are going to have fun and laugh to forget their despair, their distress? This rejoicing will leave nothing in their hearts, hardly anything in their stomachs…

To varying degrees, we feel concerned or touched by this realistic painting. Yet, a word was given to humanity for its first Christmas: “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” What strange language for that world, oppressed by the Roman legions, living in troubled times and subject to all sorts of depressions and injustices! Good news?

The birth of a child. This baby from Bethlehem, without riches, from a humble family, born in a stable. Jesus, here is the good news! He will walk on men’s earth, “went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him” (Acts 10:38). He comes to free man from the most powerful slavery: Sin. He comes with a power to destroy the chains of our hearts, to purify our consciences, to forgive our hearts. Sin has no more power over the one who really knows Jesus. There is no message more beautiful or more powerful!

—Paul Ettori