Prayer During the Busy Christmas Season
I have a friend named Roberta. She loves Christmas. She decorates her house, goes Christmas shopping, wraps gifts, and bakes fudge for everyone on her list. What amazes me is that as busy as she is, she still finds time to pray and reflect at the end of her hectic, chaotic day. Many of us get overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of Christmas and forget to pray. We end up feeling a void and searching for the true meaning of Christmas. This year I suggest that we take time to pause, for Christmas is indeed a special time to deepen our particular vocations or to discern what our vocations might be.
Christmas calls us to make room for Jesus. The familiar story tells of Mary wrapping Jesus in swaddling clothes and laying him in the manger because there was no room for the holy family at the inn. We struggle to meet the demands of our particular vocations, or to even know what they are, because our lives are too busy and cluttered.
Let us ask Jesus to help us make him our focus this coming year, to teach us how to slow down and be less busy and stressed, and to assist us in encountering him like never before. Scripture is filled with stories of men and women who encountered Jesus and made room for him. And because of these encounters, their lives changed and were never the same again!
Christmas invites us to keep watch in the night. The familiar Christmas story also tells of shepherds keeping the night watch over their flock. Sometimes Christmas arrives to find our vocations under stress, our finances dipping badly, our relationships in need of repair, and our world reeling from terror. We get discouraged or become cynical. Keeping watch in the night is looking for light in darkness—and finding it. Christmas is about Jesus, the Light of the World. Let us ask Jesus to fill our lives with his light and to sharpen our eyesight to be able to see light even in the midst of our darkness.
Christmas challenges us to embrace lives of generous giving. In the birth of Jesus we see an overwhelming display of generous giving: Mary saying yes, Joseph accompanying her, the three kings traveling to give their gift of worship. One of the messages of Christmas can be summed up in a simple statement: God entrusts extraordinary things to ordinary people! Let us ask Jesus to help us be more generous in responding to the demands of our vocations and be more open to his will for us.
We, the vocation team at Glenmary Home Missioners, affirm and uplift men who are men of prayer, who make room for Jesus, who keep watch in the night, and who embrace lives of generous giving. We invite you to consider Glenmary priesthood or brotherhood, where these same values help us in our exciting ministries of nurturing Catholics, fostering ecumenism, evangelizing the unchurched, engaging in social outreach, working for justice, and making connections to the universal Church. Are you being called to do the same?