A Few years ago, when I was a seminarian, I used to visit a nursing home and brought communion
with me to Catholic residents. One day during my visit, I met a lady in her seventies with whom I had a small conversation before giving her communion. I still remember that it was around Christmas, and we were talking about family members visiting the residents. She looked at me and said: Akizou, I don’t think that anyone loves me. I asked her why she was making such statement. She replied saying that nobody would visit her during Christmas. I looked at her and said to her with a big smile: God loves you and I do love you as your brother in Christ. She looked intently into my eyes and smiled.
My dear brothers and sisters, Christmas is about the celebration of love; a love that is too strong and unimaginable; a love that every humankind might find difficult to understand and perceive. The main and fundamental meaning of Christmas is that we have a God who deeply loves us. God’s divinity didn’t stop God from sharing in our humanity by being vulnerable as a child. In the incarnation, God decides to come closer to every one of us and whisper in our ears: my son and my daughter I love you.
My dear brothers and sisters, in a world filled with war, sicknesses of all kinds, the pandemic of covid 19, hunger, suffering, injustice, violence, and so on, we are to play the role of the shepherds. We are the ones that have to share the love of God in the form of healing, peace, care, compassion to those who are in need. Though gift exchange is an important practice of our cultures, Christmas is a way for us as Christians to exchange the gift of love with our brothers and sisters around. This is where the true joy of Christmas is found; by acknowledging that God loves you so much more than you could imagine and letting that love of God overflow to those around you. So, for this Christmas, try to express your love to someone around you. It can be someone that you don’t even know. When you gather as family,remember to be thankful to each other for the gift of love that God has given to each one of us. Let us spread the love of God in our houses, neighborhoods, church, city, and country. Let us not be afraid to let ourselves be filled with the love of God; and finally let us not be afraid to exchange with one another the gift of love especially those who think that they have nothing to offer as gift. We all have LOVE to offer no matter your social and economic situation, race, cultural background.
Fr. Akizou Kamina, SVD