If we open our eyes properly…we see God sitting beside us in the good, bad and ugly


If we open our eyes properly…we see God sitting beside us in the good, bad and ugly

Happy Christmas!  Today we celebrate with joy that God wants to show us how much God loves us: becoming one of us and walking in the reality of our lives: the good, bad & ordinary.

Recently, I was called to Rome for meetings.  While there, I was fortunate to visit an exhibition established by the Pope in a building just off St Peter’s Square.

It held maybe 100 Christmas CRIBS from many parts of Europe.
Many were very elaborate and very beautifully done.  Nice to look at but not so inspiring.  However, two struck me as very representative of the real meaning of Christmas.

1) there was a “pizza shop” with people next to the manger where Jesus, Mary and Joseph were visible.  It reminds us that God is born in the ordinary days of our lives: it’s up to us to recognise, in the ordinary parts of our lives, the love, joy and peace that surrounds.

The focus being, of course, on good company, eating together and making laughter.  Too often we look for God in only special places, special events.  While special places and special events can lead us deeper into the mystery of God, it is only in our relationships that God can truly help us “feel loved.”

2) The second CRIB was from Bosnia (?), which is scarred by much war damage.  Jesus, Mary and Joseph were under a sheet of tin tied to the base of a water tower:  a tall, thick, concrete column rising up to a large tank balanced on top of it.

The tank held no water because there were two jagged holes in the side of the tank, probably from aerial bombing.  Here we see God’s love for us revealed by God’s willingness to be in solidarity with us in our darkest days: the days we have lost much and uncertain of our future.

A koala drinks water offered from a bottle by a firefighter during bushfires in Cudlee Creek, south Australia, December 22, 2019.

It reminded me of the act of kindness shown to a fire “singed” koala in Australian bushfires.  At Christmas, it’s like God reaches out and touches us with kindness and hope.

When we are with family, and trying to make our families work, then God is present.
When all is lost, stick together so that God can come alive among us, and for us.
The tradition of coming together for Christmas is so important,
and my hope is that it reminds us of how important it is to eat together every day.

Happy Christmas!  Let’s work on our Relationships in order to RE-discover Immanuel.

By Gerard Conlan, OMI