Around this time, here in the Valley as we live and breathe the American dream often times you will hear folks ask: what do you want for Christmas? My endorphin hormones enjoy new and shinny things but now as I achingly realize my age, I am more concerned about other things like the wellbeing of my love ones and the challenges they are facing and will face in the near future. And I think I now should spend more time reflecting on my sinfulness and things I still need to improve on in the limited days I have left. Perhaps the Christmas Wish I most desperately need is answered with a bold statement like: Death to the world that still exists within me! [Col. 3:5-6]
Well, that’s easier said than done! I simply alone cannot rid myself of these addictions! I am weak and slothful and easily distracted! And then of course there are my scars and deep wounds that at times get agitated accidently by folks in my day to day walk in life. I am still in need of a Great Healer and Physician. I am in great need of a love that is so pure and unpolluted. I am in great need of a Savior because I can’t seem to cure myself despite my many thirsting attempts.
Christ is Born so that we may lose the chains of death and lay aside all earthly cares! But we must accept His invitation to come closer! We have to cooperate with His grace by removing all of the obstacles we have surrounded ourselves with that block His Light from penetrating our hearts! St. Paul lists the following obstacles today in his letter to the Church in Colossians: “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience”. [Col 3:5-6] He then mentions “anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth.” St. Paul follows that up with a warning not to “lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature.” (Col 3:8-9)
These are the pollutants that contaminate our bodies and souls and steal our true joy. They may at times seem small and minuscule but when rot is allowed to remain, deterioration comes to the whole body as it slowly encumbers our eternity. There is no happiness in damnation. Over the years I have found that the things of the Earth that are shinny and new require our attention to preserve them or keep them sparkling. We become their slaves. And over time, they tarnish or rust away anyway. True happiness can only come from above!
“Come; let us seize Paradise hidden in the cave! There the unwatered Root has appeared, blossoming with forgiveness.” (Cannon of the Nativity) He formed us from clay and carefully placed us in the womb and He wishes to restore blessedness to all of mankind. Christ is born at Christmas and hopes we chose Him as our Christmas Wish. Less of us and much more of Him! Glory to Thee who has showed us the Light! (2 Corinthians 4:6)
Fr. Gabriel Weller 12-27-2020