It’s Christmas if you strip yourselves of the pretension of being able to do everything on your own, and learn to reach out to this Child.
It seems like yesterday when you were growing inside me, and I couldn’t imagine anything of the wonderful adventure into which God was pulling me. A child changes your life forever, like a miracle born from your womb. But, in my case, it turned my world upside down.
I lived a kind of heavenly dream, trembling like someone who had been surprised by a light that came from above, but who still had to deal with the pots and pans in the kitchen and tidying up the house. In the meantime, you grew up. In silence I watched you become a man, and tears of wonder and joy wetted my cheeks as I gently spoke your name.
At that time, I couldn’t imagine that the light that had burst through the windows of my poor house in Nazareth and opened the doors of my heart to God would soon be obscured by the incomprehension, hostility, and violence of men. But in the meantime, you were growing up. You helped your father in the shop, you played with the other boys, and you enjoyed simple carefree days in the village. At the same time, sometimes you became serious and watched the horizon. You already had in your heart the desire to reach everyone, to heal wounds, to raise the fallen, to plant love in the heart of history. You were my son, but in reality, you were a son of humanity. Soon, you would no longer be mine, but bread for the hungry.
Behold, dear Son: even today, you are about to be born. Your Christmas, today, has become a feast of lights, a burst of colors, and a melody made up of lullabies. Yet, once again, the people who will truly find you will be those who visit the simplicity and poverty of the manger, and who learn the rhythm of your heartbeat, just as I did as soon as I felt you in my womb. These same people will give birth to dreams of a peaceful future, helping to make a reality that promise of freedom which the Angel gave me when he announced your coming.
It’s Christmas, beloved traveling companions. After 2,000 years, with the heart of a mother, I would like to invite you to prepare well for his coming.
It’s Christmas if you strip yourselves of the pretension of being able to do everything on your own, and learn to reach out to this Child. It’s Christmas if you’re not afraid to enter the cave too, where sometimes fatigue, tiredness, and darkness catch you off guard, and it seems that there’s nothing more worth committing to—while the dawn of God is actually already being born within you.
It’s Christmas if, above all else, you know how to rediscover the true meaning of family. Living as a family means knowing how to pause to listen to one another and speak to one another. It also means hugging each other with the warmth of God’s love, to put into motion the virtuous circle of tenderness. Break down the walls of selfishness, overcome resistance, overcome those deadly silences, and lastly, give each other a true embrace. It doesn’t matter if you’re broken, shattered, or bent; what makes a perfect family isn’t having your home, everyday situations, and bank account in order, but having the courage to constantly renew your love for each other, and to hold each other tight.
It’s Christmas if you take care of mothers and all women—those who generate life—still too often silenced, mistreated, and abused.
It’s Christmas if you know how to welcome the Child in the eyes of all children. Remember the Gospel: children are innocent, they are angels, and woe to those who scandalize them, confuse them, humiliate them, or wound them.
It’s Christmas if you commit yourselves to seek and find God not only on this cold December day, but in the ordinary things of every day, in the places you frequent and in your commitment to your work, in the life balance you struggle to maintain. Because as you know, by a strange choice of Divine Providence, this son was born of a poor young woman from Nazareth, the remotest of towns. If God has done great things in me, he can do them in you too.
I always caressed my son when he was a Child. Do it yourself this Christmas as well, with a maternal attitude: give birth to God’s dream, perhaps treating with care and affection the lonely, the sick, the disillusioned, the sad, those who feel they are at a dead end.
Every time you welcome my son, my heart is moved as on the day of the Annunciation. Open the Gospel, listen to it, and speak with Jesus. In your homes this Christmas, light a candle on the table and have everyone sit around it: mothers, fathers, children, and grandparents. Enjoy the beauty of God’s love in the silence of your heart and in the loving gaze that you know how to give each other.
I want all of this for you, with the heart of a Mother.