Rejoice in the Lord always: again, I say, rejoice...... And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
The mark of every true Christian, every soldier of Christ is joy.... the joy that is only found in the Lord. And how do we express that joy? First in how we treat our family. There is no surer way to know the true depths of where our souls lie than in how we treat our family. Our spouse, our children, our father, our mother, our brothers and sisters.... The family God gave to us to help form our souls. It isn't so difficult to be joyful "out there". It isn't so difficult to put on a smile or laugh "out there". It isn't so difficult to put out a kind word "out there". But unless we treat our family with great love, great charity and be the source of great joy.... we only too easily show who we really are. It is easy to find excuse to send a nasty word or make an unkind jesture to our family.... afterall they deserve it is our thought. And yet, God Himself, as a God-made-Man came down to live in a family, to form his human character that He might be one with us. For 30 years He, God, remained submissive to His Mother and foster-father. He submitted Himself in all his Infinite Greatness to mere human creatures.... just because He loves us. I don't know, I've been pondering why God's great love for us all Advent as I slowly make my way through St. Alphonsus' Incarnation book. We are so wretched! Yet, that is the fact. No greater fact could be revealed to us that He, God, became Man just for the very sake of love. Perfect Love. So we, too must treat everyone, see everyone through the Eyes of God... most especially our families.... with great love. It is only in that, when we die to ourselves that we will find that Perfect Joy.
And so we say Rejoice! For, as St. John the Baptist said, we prepare for One so Great to come into our midst of whose sandal strap we are unworthy to loosen! We are not even worthy to stoop to the ground and remove His shoes. So let's make ourselves as worthy as we are able... by the Grace of God.... by stooping to treat our family with great love. And how do we do that.... by serving, by a kind word, by a little smile.... Have we said, "I love you" lately? If there is no love... find it. Beg God for it. Beg Our Lady. Ask for nothing else this Christmas but to be filled with the Love of God.... and then Rejoice!