All she wants for Christmas is for her child to come home. She’s the mother of a soldier deployed on a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Lebanon. “Peace on earth” is her constant prayer.
His Christmas wish is to be reunited with his wife and son. For several months now they have been making the long, dangerous trek from their home in Venezuela to the United States. He came to the USA two years ago to make enough money to send for them. Since they left, his life has been one long Advent of waiting and hoping that they arrive safely.
Her only wish this Christmas is to have the energy to celebrate Christmas. This past year she’s been undergoing treatment for an aggressive form of cancer. She has no illusions of expecting a miracle; she’s not looking for a wonder drug. All she wants is to be able to be with her family, decorate the tree, sing the carols, wrap the gifts, set up the family crib, and go to Christmas Mass again. All she asks is to make one more journey to Bethlehem.
We all want different things at Christmas. While some of us want to get through it with as little damage to our credit cards as possible, John the Baptizer challenges us to seek more from the Messiah’s coming: a renewed sense of gratitude for the love we receive, reconciliation with those from whom we are estranged; moving beyond the despair and brokenness in our lives to hope and wholeness; re-centring our lives on the things that give joy and fulfilment.
May the next two weeks be about the work of Advent begun by John: to make a “way” of peace and hope for God to enter our homes and hearts in every place and season, to help one another realize their deepest Christmas wishes.