Recently a Facebook friend (I‘ll call her “Lucy”) posted an essay on her timeline telling us that she is depressed this Christmas and why. While it is a fairly lengthy essay, not once did she give any hint of the fact that Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus. Additionally, not a single response to Lucy (except mine) mentioned that Christmas is a celebration of the birthday of Our Lord, the Savior of the human race. I fear that this is a symptom of the fact that mankind has lost its focus, not just on “the reason for the season,” but on the purpose of life in general. So My Thursday Thoughts today turn from Lucy’s depression and sadness to the joy and hope that can overtake her simply by her reading the Scriptures, specifically the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2. In fact, I suggested that she read this chapter in its entirety, slowly, out loud to herself. If you are feeling down this Christmas, I make the same suggestion to you. Just the sound of the words describing what happened is good for the soul. Luke 2:1-20 reads as follows.
“In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
“Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them; ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’
“When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.”
To all the Lucys in the world: May you hear these words in a new light and glorify and praise God, just as the shepherds did that Christmas many years ago. Amen.
The photo is of a shepherd and his flock and was taken at the holiday exhibit at the Cristo Rey Catholic Church in Lincoln, Nebraska.