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We sometimes picture the Holy Family like this, tranquil, travelling in the morning mist towards Bethlehem.
Yet what awaited them in that City of David was far from peaceful – ‘no room at the Inn’, bustling crowds, Baby Jesus on the way. Scary.
But maybe, just maybe, it was moments such as what we see in the image above that sustained them. Look at the picture again. Joseph and Mary are both lost in contemplation, intent on where they are being led by God, yet relaxed, too. They knew that Emmanuel was in their midst; they had both listened to the Angel’s words ‘Don’t be afraid’. That was enough to keep them moving.
How are you approaching Christmas this year? Excited? Full of hope? Wishing ‘it could be Christmas every day’ as a song puts it? Tired? Hung over? Worried? Feeling a bit drained? Exhausted?
For some of us (maybe for you as you read this), it can all seem overwhelming – ‘things to do, people to see’, and how can we afford it all – not just money, emotional energy, too?
We approach Christmas with care, warily even.
And God in Christ approaches us, too. Stop now – and breathe.
Think to yourself, maybe say out loud ‘ Emmanuel’ – which means God is with us. God is with you.
With you in all the concerns of this Christmas. He understands, He cares, He hears what you can’t express, what you’re afraid to say to anyone else just now. And He loves what He sees.
He loves you and encourages you to hear the message He sent to Mary and Joseph that first Christmas – ‘Don’t be afraid’. Hear those words spoken into your situation by God who loves you, who understands what it’s like for you.
Our Lady’s words to Gabriel can help us too – ‘Let it be’. This Christmas, take moments to ‘let go’, to ‘let it be’. You, I, all of us, are in the watchful care of the God who is with us.
Remembering the presence of Emmanuel sustained Mary and Joseph and all the others about whom the Scriptures speak to us at Christmas. You, too, if you do the same. He will be enough to keep you moving, intent yet relaxed.
Approach Christmas with prayer – for God is with us all.