"I'm just not ready to end the joy of Christmas yet. Maybe I'll go old-school and keep the Christmas spirit and music and decorations going until February 2nd for Candlemas Day this year! Does anybody else do that?".
As much as I love the Christmas season and the beautiful story of the Christ Child who came to earth, I understand that this event did not end with "a babe lying in the manger". Jesus grew in knowledge- blessed, infused and acquired, in age and in grace. As I slowly pack the Christmas decorations away, I am reminded that I, too, must now grow alongside Jesus and in accordance with my nature. Each year the Church, in her wisdom, moves us all along in this way.
It's time to leave behind, in a sense, this joyful season, full of lights and wonder, to embark with Jesus and His Holy Family on a pilgrimage of love that will direct us toward a more somber reality. What was the true cost of His love?
A meditation on Jesus' redemptive sacrifice explains that:
The desire to embrace His Father's plan of redeeming love inspired Jesus' whole life, for his redemptive passion was the very reason for his Incarnation. And so he asked, "And what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour." And again, "Shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?" From the cross, just before "It is finished", he said, "I thirst" (CCC 607).
Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries. This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering (CCC 618).
the rain and snow come down
and do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
so shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
my word shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.
On the question of whether or not the twelve would leave Jesus after they had heard His hard teaching (John 6:64), Peter answered Jesus, "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast
the words of eternal life" (John 6:68).
With Jesus and in trust, we now journey heavenwards- from the little town of Bethlehem, in and out of Egypt, to Nazareth and then eventually into Jerusalem.
Because the Mighty One hath done great things for me:
(and holy is His name).