Many images appear in our imaginations. They are mostly memories from our childhood, or special events that have occurred around Christmas in our Adulthood. Some are memories of special foods, and the very thought makes our mouths water. Some are memories of particular toys, and they brings a smile to our faces. Some are memories of special family traditions – what time we went to Mass, or when we opened gifts.
Yes, Gifts are among the many images we recall. Oh yes, and mysteriously wrapped and beneath a tree.
If you are married, then whether it was Christmas or not, you remember the date and circumstances when your spouse gave you the gift of asking you to be his or hers. You were delighted that you would have this person in your life, until death do us part. (Even if, for any reason, the time was cut short, the moment of the gift of self was a special moment.]
In the second reading for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, Paul write to the Romans, and to us, making known that we are called to belong to Jesus Christ. That is everybody – not just the ordained priests, not just the consecrated religious, but everybody. We are all called to belong to Jesus Christ. Furthermore, he writes, that we are all called to be holy. All of us! All of the time! We belong to Jesus Christ – all of the time, and not just until death do we part, but until death we unite.
We are a gift to each other. We are mysteriously wrapped. And we gather frequently under the tree of the cross.
It is a sacred gathering.
It is also a joyous gathering because we know that Jesus arose from the dead. He continues to give us the gift of life. In another place Paul writes: Let that same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, dwell in you.
This Christmas let us receive the gift of the call of Jesus – to belong to him. He is always inviting us.
In Paul’s words: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.