|Church of St. Vincent de Paul|
In many ways Christmas speaks for itself and doesn’t need a commentary. It is a time of hope and a time of remembering what God has done for us. For many people it is also a difficult and lonely time. It is the time we usually associate with family, but not all of us have family, or we may have been separated from family for one reason or another and it brings up painful memories of what might have been. I find that focusing on the coming of God among us in the person of Jesus, the Word made flesh, helps to keep everything in perspective. God came into the world as it was, not as it should be. God also comes to us as we are and not as we should be. He is with us in whatever way our life is right now.
Here is a story I heard from one of the old Dominican priests I lived with for a year. Simon Roche was his name. Simon spent 25 years in India and had many fascinating experiences of faith there. He told me the following story about a young girl called Asha.
Asha, a Hindu and Brahman (high cast), went to Mary Immaculate Catholic school. As happens with many children there she got encephalitis, a disease which causes the brain to swell. Apparently about 500 children in India die from it each year. Asha got encephalitis in November and had to be hospitalised. She quickly began to deteriorate. In mid December she went into a coma and on the 23rd December the doctors said she was not going to improve. She only had a short time to live.
On Christmas Eve, her mother who was staying in the hospital in a bed beside her, saw lots of different colored lights over her bed and a man standing with his hands extended over her daughter. The next day, Christmas day, Asha woke up at 7.30am for the first time. She asked her mother for something to eat. Then she said, ‘What day is today?’ Her mother said it was the 25th of December. Asha said, ‘Today is the day of the Christians. Can you turn on the radio so I can hear some of the Christians’ songs?’ The doctors were astonished and had no explanation for what had happened. Asha was completely healed.
‘The Word was made flesh and lived among us
and we saw his glory.’
and we saw his glory.’
Jesus, the Word of the eternal Father, is still among us.