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    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2022

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2022

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    The incarnation of the Word inspires us as we engage in the missionary task of the Church.

    Christ Jesus, “being in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped at.

    But he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming as human beings are” (Phil. 2:6-7). CICM Constitutions, Art. 12

    Christmas EN


    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2022

     Christmas is not past history; it is a burning actuality!


    In our class of Rite Christian Initiation Adult Catechumenate,  I used to give the participants a handout with the title: Who is Jesus Christ? About fifteen questions or statements! Participants had to check T (true) or F (false) in the box in front.   One of the questions was: At Christmas, we celebrate the birthday of the Christ Child. True or False? More people than I expected–catechumens and sponsors–answered without hesitation: true!

    I don’t deny that Christmas is also the birthday of the Christ Child. The question is whether the “True” is true enough! By simply saying that we celebrate the birthday of the Christ Child at Christmas, we seem to be practicing “archaeology,” looking back some 2000 years. This all happened a long time ago. It is history. Perhaps that is the impression the Church gives of itself: history, faded glory. We are so busy celebrating anniversaries as if we were looking back at our past with nostalgia and … self-pity, with discouragement and inertia. There is nothing wrong with celebrating the past, as long as it propels us into a new future. What was possible in the past can be possible today! Christmas is not past history; it is a burning actuality! For us, CICM, Christmas must be a special celebration because we are dedicated to the Incarnate Word (Constitutions, arts. 12–16).

    To limit Christmas to the celebration of the birthday of the Child Jesus means to reduce it to a certain sentimentality. Don’t get me wrong. I like the words of Christmas: Silent Night. I want to sing them on my recorder. But we must not forget that the birthday of the Christ Child–in retrospect–became the most crucial turning point in history!

     People who became aware of God’s presence in human history discovered that this was one of the greatest revolutions of all time: Emmanuel: God with us! From a distance, too many people see faith in terms of the existence of God. This is not Christian! Faith is first and foremost the presence of God. And where God is present, there, life is changed. One cannot accept the presence of God, the tangible presence of God, and remain unchanged. In the Gospels, we see this over and over again. In the presence of Jesus, transformation takes place: proclaiming freedom to the captives, sight to the blind, freeing the oppressed, proclaiming a year of grace from the Lord (Lk 4:18).

    Excerpt from the reflections of Father Frans De Ridder, cicm, Missionary in Taiwan