By Cathy Woodson
Vigil – Isaiah 62:1-5 | Acts 13:16-17, 22-25 | Matthew 1:1-25
Midnight – Isaiah 9:1-6 | Titus 2:11-14 | Luke 2:1-14
Dawn – Isaiah 62:11-12 | Titus 3:4-7 | Luke 2:15-20
Day – Isaiah 52:7-10 | Hebrews 1:1-6 | John 1:1-18 or 1:1-5, 9-14
“I will not be silent” (Isaiah 62:1)
REJOICE! God be with us—Emmanuel!
Today we celebrate the coming of Christ onto Earth, bearing good news, announcing peace and salvation to the world.
We hear the story of Christ’s coming among us; children are wide-eyed with wonder and innocence as they try to remember all that is about to happen and what they’ve waited for all this time. We take time to honor the birth of Christ. We give thanks for all our blessings as we continue to struggle with understanding why others don’t have food, shelter, clothing, clean water, and decent sanitation. We pray for and with those living in war zones or in fear of war or with criminal activity in their communities, and for others just surviving on the streets, young and old. As we pray, we may wonder why it is this way.
As we celebrate our blessings, can we lift up our commitment to interrupting systems of injustice? Can we take time to think about the need for social justice in addition to charitable services? Both are equally important. We share the good news with young and old; we share the way of Christ and how we are all called to give the gifts of peace and justice. Our actions demonstrate strength and faith, and so we must act. This is the journey; it is hard work. Even as we harvest seeds of justice, we must continue to sow seeds of justice as well; we cannot stop. So we pray, “God, help me to see that doing my part to bring justice and peace to others isn’t an optional exercise of religious piety but my fundamental calling as a Christian.”*
Let us remember to share the good news this Christmas, our continued dedication to God’s calling.
Reflection: How will you seek ways to influence others to work for justice and peace?
*From Let Me Sow Love: Living the Peace Prayer of St. Francis by James E. Adams, published by Ave Maria Press, 2003
This reflection is from Voices of Hope, Women of Wisdom: Reflections for Advent 2012. Cathy Woodson is a community organizer, member of the Pax CHristi USA Anti-Racism Team, and vice-chair of the Pax Christi USA National Council.