Beloved Family in Christ,
Christmas should be a time for celebration, and yet we often experience confusion instead. Wherever we turn, Christmas festivities have been commercialized and secularized so that our reason for joy is diluted past recognition. We no longer attend Christmas parties, but Holiday gatherings; what was formerly “Christmas Vacation” is now “Winter Break.” The quiet tenderness of the Nativity Scene has been banished from our city squares in favor of pastel trees, blinking lights, and mechanical Santas. What was once a season of melodious joy has become a cacophonous gauntlet of soulless mirth and garish artificiality.
In most of life—and even more in this sacred season—it is the small things that really matter. Often unnoticed but everywhere around us, little glimpses into life’s deeper meaning can be found. It happens in that simple smile we give to passing strangers in the mad shopping rush, acknowledging the camaraderie of our December anxieties and joys. It happens in the heartfelt greetings we exchange with family and friends, in words and gestures of repeated yet made new by the Season. It happens in our parish at the familiar worship services that echo for us the ancient refrain of “Christ is Born!” That secret grace comes upon us when we sit in our homes on a cold winter’s night and reflect on our own Christmas experience of joy as children, young adults, parents, and grandparents.
These moments are small windows into the almost unnoticed event that occurred two thousand years ago, the birth of our Savior. Our hymnology indicates this same mystery: almost as if hidden and unknown, Christ was born in cave. It was the greatest event in history, as the Creator entered into Creation. And yet in the wisdom of God, divine grace was manifested in the smallest way—in the form of a little child, in the person of a baby boy.
May our eyes be enlightened in this Christmas season to notice those small things in which God reveals His presence and love. In December’s noise and commotion, may we experience for ourselves the peace and goodwill proclaimed by the angels. And so may we truly rejoice as we celebrate the Nativity of our Lord Jesus.
Christ is Born!
Metropolitan of Detroit Nicholas