By Sr. Meg Kymes
As part of my Advent prayer, I have been reading a book called Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas Virtues. It is separated into several different sections and each section focuses on a particular virtue. The first section focuses on joy. These stories about joy told tales of charity and simplicity, rather than the commercial Christmas that Black Friday tries to sell. Stories about adult children creating a homemade Christmas without expensive gifts in JULY to cheer their ailing parents; children who didn’t have much themselves sharing the few dollars they had to contribute to their school’s Christmas giving program; even a sports columnist starting an annual ball drive to give eventually thousands of balls to children in need of something on Christmas morning. All of these were beautiful stories, but there was one that rose above the rest for me.
The story I read this morning was about a group of cousins on Christmas Eve that put on a Nativity play. They created paper backgrounds and costumes from sheets and towels around the house to make a scene of a hospital. Mary and Joseph were rejected from the inn as Scripture tells us, but instead of finding the manger they found shelter in Bethlehem Memorial Hospital. There the nurse angels took in Mary to have her child while an anxious Joseph waited in the waiting room. After time wore on with update of “She’s doing fine,” a tiny toddler angel came out onto the stage to bear the Good News. After some prompting from her older cousins she proudly announces, “It’s a girl!” I first chuckled to myself, but after more reflection I thought how true she was.
Unlike the days when Mary and Joseph walked the long roads to Bethlehem, we await the presence of Jesus with us in our own hearts. We look towards Christmas when we celebrate the day he came to Earth so that he later could live in our hearts. We, like the children giving what they had to other children who had so little, and the adult child creating Christmas in July for their parents, have to share him with each other so we all can enjoy the true joy that only Jesus’ presence in our lives can bring.