Christmas greetings from Maria Voce, President of the Focolare Movement.
If I look around me, in towns and cities but also in the media, I often ask myself, “What is Christmas really about?” It is as though there is a din all around me, because it seems to be made up of dinners, gifts, decorations, lights and street markets. And all this din seems to be trying to hide – without succeeding – the cry of pain and suffering on the part of so many people in the world who are calling out for solidarity, respect, welcome, peace and justice. They are really appealing for love. And human beings don’t know how to give them love, but God does. God knows how to give love and he does so.
The little Child we see in the crib this Christmas, as in all the other Christmases, tells of God’s love. God so loved humankind as to become one of us, becoming small and defenceless, facing all kinds of sufferings, not only facing them but actually experiencing them, all the sufferings of humankind and death itself.
Coming to live among people on earth was God’s way of saying “yes” to humankind once more, to reunite them again with him.
God’s ‘yes’ to humankind is represented by that little Child in Bethlehem, by that baby whose name people don’t even want to hear mentioned any more.
I visited a country where in order to keep the festive atmosphere of Christmas without referring to God, people invented a “Winter Festival” to be able to celebrate.
Yet even so, God loves each person and continues to love everyone, telling us so once more.
This Child not only shows us God’s love but shares this love with us. He gives us love, helping us to live it and teaching us what to do. He then wants us to do the same, to be witnesses of God’s love to other people, giving God’s love to others, a love like his. God’s love does not have preferences. It is a love that reaches everyone, that does not put up barriers; it is not prejudiced and does not discriminate between people. This love can open our hearts, our hands, our arms, our wallets and our homes.
If this kind of love is alive among people, then God himself lives among them. Only God can make everyone feel at home, creating a family among everyone, all brothers and sisters, a real celebration.
Christmas is like this. If we live in this way, it is a real Christmas for us.
This is the Christmas I wish for all of you.