Christmas is the celebration of the birthday of Jesus Christ born in the stable at Bethlehem,.
Two holy people who have had a great impact in my own life are St John Paul II and Blessed Mother Teresa who had laid much emphasis on the importance of Family.
I share some of their thoughts for your reflection.
We see the images of the Holy Family of Nazareth- Jesus, Mary and Joseph- in the cribs displayed at many places- in churches, public places, homes and even in some offices.
In a message, Pope John Paul II said that during the Christmas period, our eyes will rejoice at the mystery of the Holy Family, just as children rejoice when they look at the crib, recognising in it a kind of prototype of their own family, the family within which they came into the world.
This is a great reminder to all of us to look into our own family and pray for peace within ourselves and in our family. That is the joy of our family to which we belong.
St John Paul II further spoke about the greater human family –humanity itself.
He said that as he looked at families in the light of Christmas, he could not but turn his thoughts to the greater human family, unfortunately torn by persistent forms of selfishness and violence. The tragedy of war in many parts of the world continues to produce countless victims even among innocent and defenceless people.
Following is a beautiful prayer of St John Paul II, which we could recite as we gaze at Baby Jesus in the Crib during Christmas:
“Wipe away, Baby Jesus, the tears of children! Embrace the sick and the elderly! Move men to lay down their arms and to draw close in a universal embrace of peace! Invite the peoples, O merciful Jesus, to tear down the walls created by poverty and unemployment, by ignorance and indifference, by discrimination and intolerance. God of peace, gift of peace for all of humanity, come to live in the heart of every individual and of every family. Be our peace and our joy! Amen!”
Prayer for peace
During this Christmas celebration of festivities, decorations, gifts, lunches, carols and dances- let us not forget the innocent and defenceless people in our own family and in greater human family. We need to care for them and pray for Peace. We need to radiate Peace which is the essence of Christmas.
Mother Teresa has also spoken about a lack of love and our pursuit of success and riches.
She said that love begins at home; love lives in homes, and that is why there is so much suffering and so much unhappiness in the world today.
Everybody today seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater developments and greater riches and so on, so that children have very little time with their parents. Parents have very little time for each other, and in the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world.
Let us ponder what these two Holy People were speaking to us and reflect on the Holy Family of Nazareth as we gaze at the Crib – the family to which Jesus belongs. The family where Joy, Love and Peace reigned.
May our family be the Holy Family.
I wish you Peace as we celebrate the Prince of Peace and as St John Paul II said may we be the instrument to reach this Peace to families, children, women, elderly, the handicapped, who are often helpless victims of selfishness and neglect by society.
Wenceslaus Anthony is Chairman of Divine Retreat Centre, New Zealand based in Auckland.