Find reflections from throughout the season on our Advent 2020 webpage.

The reflection below is by Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB. This reflection is from Journey of Hope and Grace: Advent 1990, by Monika Hellwig and Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB. Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB is a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, PA, former National Coordinator of Pax Christi USA, and a Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace..

reflection for CHRISTMAS, DECEMBER 25, 2020

by Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB

Isaiah 9:1-16 | Titus 2:11-14 | Luke 2:1-14

“Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news
of great joy that will be for all the people.” (Lk 2:10)

The promise can no longer be contained. Every day this week a messenger arrived “bearing glad tidings”.

Gabriel walked into the Holy of Holies and announced good news to Zechariah and Elizabeth: “Joy and gladness will be yours … in these days God is acting on your behalf.” An angel entered the dream of Joseph and whispered, “Do not fear … you shall call him Emmanuel … God is with us.” And Mary is greeted with words that praise and comfort: “Rejoice O highly favored daughter! Blessed are you among women.” Immediately and in haste she carried the message into the countryside inviting the entire universe to a festive procession.

One has an image of an angelic choir on its feet rushing toward earth leading the way to Bethlehem, then the poor shepherds, dressed in rough sheepskin clothes, still drowsy, still dazzled by the light, still bewildered by the music, the voices, that announced “Peace on earth.” Next the Magi, arrayed in splendid robes, faces aglow, bearing humble gifts; and behind the seekers come travelers of every nation, advancing on horseback or on foot, followed by their camels, dogs and oxen.

If you can imagine this procession of creation, you can also hear the song that envelops the earth as these pilgrims make their way toward Bethlehem. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who bring glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, and saying to Zion, ‘Your God is King’.”

Do you hear that song as you journey towards the stable? Do you believe it?

People on their feet, walking toward a promise, is revolutionary. People on their feet, walking toward a promise, can topple empires. People on their feet, walking toward a promise, can create a vision of the Promised Land. Processions are like that.

Remember Gandhi’s Salt March, the small cadre that swelled into a national nonviolent army marching for freedom. How beautiful are the feet of those who bring God’s peace. Remember the euphoria of Solidarity in Poland, Lech Walesa carried on the shoulders of the working poor, the throngs singing in the city streets. How beautiful are the feet of those who bring God’s peace. Recall the day of victory when the Berlin Wall toppled. Hear the church bells ringing, see the people embracing and dancing in the streets. How beautiful are the feet of those who bring God’s peace.

And stay in touch with today, with the Christmas story. It is a wonderful mystery marking 2000 years of beautiful feet walking the Judean hillsides, walking toward the Star of Bethlehem, the promise of peace.

But, you may argue, tomorrow Herod begins the slaughter of the innocent and already the shadow of a cross looms in the distance. Or in time the “little people” are crushed again. Or despite millions of people for peace nothing changes. It only worsens.

Yes. Yet for one second in time everyone has a taste of new beginnings, new possibilities, new life. It is Christmas. For a moment the Kingdom is come.

And who knows — in the 60’s Mama Cass belted out the promise, “There’s a new world coming and it’s just around the bend.” We believers in the Christmas message would have to agree around the bend is always a surprise; around the bend could be a child wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger, whose name is PRINCE OF PEACE. And there’s only one way to find out — keep following the Star of Bethlehem.

It is this promise, this hope we call Christmas that will feed the flame within us and lighten the path for the next generation.

9 thoughts on “Reflection for Christmas, December 25

  1. Dear Mary Lou, Thank you for your beautiful reflection! It gives hope to our world. Haven’t seen you in years but remember you well and appreciate your ministry of peace! A Blessed christmas. Love, Micaela from Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas

  2. I too am grateful for this beautiful reflection. Thank you, Mary Lou. You and the Erie Benedictine Sisters have given so much to Pax Christi and to all of us who yearn for a more just and peaceful world where all God’s children and the Earth herself live well and can shout for joy!

  3. Dear Sr Mary Lou,
    Thank you on this December 25, 2020. May wonder full surprises await you just around the bend! This was a lovely surprise for me today. Merry Christmas

  4. I am honored to share your name (and wisdom of years), faith, love, and hope. Your inspirational writings and reflections have nurtured my soul throughout a year of pandemic, family losses, and illnesses.
    Grateful for who you are as I treasure you in thought and prayer.

  5. Sr. Mary Lou,
    From a former student at VCHS, thank you for this beautiful reflection. The memories of the joyous events of the 20th century bring tears of recognition of and appreciation for the excitement these events engendered. And we were blessed with the appearance of the “Christmas Star” this year — how wonderful to share the image of those following it, knowing its glorious promise. Peace and joy!

  6. Dear Mary Lou, Yes,Yes,Yes. Thank You for your beautiful Christmas Reflection. Your words throughout the years inspire me and give me hope. Love and Peace . Donna Killoran

Leave a Reply