christmasballQuotable Quote:

“No one can celebrate a genuine Christmas without being truly poor…
Without poverty of spirit there can be no abundance of God.”
Oscar Romero
Archbishop to El Salvador

I remember my parents sharing how little they got for Christmas as a child. My Dad talked of getting an orange, and maybe something else. I don’t remember what the “something else” might have been; all I remember is the orange. It struck me as a child, an orange? Really, an orange? I did better as a child, receiving two gifts for Christmas, one from my parents and one from my surviving grandparents (on my mother’s side). Nowadays most kids get more than two gifts. I can hear kids today exclaim, “Two gifts? Only two gifts?”

There are many who don’t seem to have much to celebrate at Christmas, and it has little to do with the shortage of gifts. People face this Christmas with the fresh loss of a loved one, having just lost a job, or having just gotten a bad report from the doctor. In fact, almost all of us can think of one or more reasons why it’s not easy for us to get in the holiday mood this year.

The quote above from the late archbishop of El Salvador, a crusader for the poor, reminds us that the celebration of Christmas does not depend on abundance or on life going well. In fact, the core message of Christmas is God giving something we all desperately need. The message of Christmas is God sending a savior into our world, implying we need saving, that things are far from being right and good as they now stand for us. The angel announced to the shepherds outside Bethlehem, “A savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

Amazingly, it’s the admission that things are not as they should be, that I’m not even as I should be, which makes Christmas resonate in a real way. I need what God wants to give me and what He wants to give me is Himself! We can wish to pack our Christmas, our lives, with lots of things, money, accomplishments, good health, experiences, or even of being a help to others. Then Christmas, then life, would be good, right? But as long as we seek to fill ourselves with anything and everything else and not with God we will be leaving no room to be filled with God! Oscar Romero’s words ring true like the best of Christmas bells!

“No one can celebrate a genuine Christmas without being truly poor…
Without poverty of spirit there can be no abundance of God.”

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