“We are close to Christmas. There will be lights, there will be parties, bright trees, even Nativity scenes, all decked out, while the world continues to wage war,” the Pope said during Mass at the Casa Santa Maria. “The world has not understood the way of peace. The whole world is at war.â€
Pope Francis has drawn a clear perspective of the Christmas we are about to celebrate in less than a week.
One the one hand, there will be festivities, there will be parties, jubilant reunions among families and friends.
On the other hand, the Pope reminds us that war confronts the world.
The world recently witnessed a series of terrorist attacks in Paris where more than a hundred innocent were massacred.
A Russian plane exploded in mid-air killing all passengers and crew. Investigations lead to a bomb planted by terrorists.
Still in Lebanon, innocent men and women were killed in an attack by terrorists.
How can we celebrate the true meaning of Christmas in the face of wars that the world confronts?
In todayâ€™s Bible reading, in preparation of the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we are also reminded that our Lord is the bearer of peace.
The Bible reading todayÂ places our celebratory mood in the proper context: â€œHe shall stand firm and shepherd his flock by the strength of the LORD,
in the majestic name of the LORD, his God; and they shall remain, for now his greatnessshall reach to the ends of the earth; he shall be peace.â€
If we define war as the absence of peace, then we all face different wars in our lives.
When there is no peace in the family, then perhaps we can be reminded of the Popeâ€™s description of Christmas as a charade.
As while there will be festivities, there is â€œwarâ€ among members of the family who remain un-reconciled from each other.
If war means suffering, then many of us feel like Â those who are victims of war.
While there will be festivities all over, thereÂ will be many who remain suffering out of loneliness.
We remember family members who are in faraway places, drawn by a drive to earn a decent wage, who cannot be with their family this Christmas.
That isÂ their war. They are suffering.
Someday Christmases will be celebrated with every family member intact.
In the meantime, there are â€œsocial warsâ€ that have to be confronted.
Nonetheless, despite the â€œwarsâ€ that we may be facing, let us all be continually reminded that Jesus is peace.
â€œHe is peace,â€ the Bible today tells us.
If peace is the absence of war, then Christmas would be worth awaiting, preparing for,Â and celebrating.
The message that I hear is that amidst the wars that people in the world may be facing, let peace reign in our hearts this Christmas.
For that is the true meaning of the Season.
Merry Christmas! (By Atty. Jay I. Dejaresco)