The birth of Christ in our world ought to mean something to us: the birth of Christ ought to mean a change in our attitudes and our behaviors and even in the course of our lives.
Today is a commemoration of Saint Thomas Becket, the archbishop of Canterbury who ultimately lost his life to the man who gave him that prestigious post. When King Henry began to usurp Church rights, Thomas found himself in a bind. Would he be beholden to the king, or would he protect the Church on behalf of the King of Kings? While it was a struggle for him, he ultimately knew that he must take a stand, no matter what the cost.
In today’s first reading, Saint John makes the point very clear. We cannot say we love God and yet defy his commandments. And we certainly cannot love God who is love itself, while at the same time refusing to love our brothers and sisters. Being Christian looks like something, and the world looks at us to see what it is. If the birth of Christ means something to us, we have to share that meaning with the world by loving, no matter what the cost.
Perhaps the one who knew this best was Mary herself. Simeon the prophet knew that he had seen the promise when he looked at the child Jesus. Then he clearly told Mary that this Savior would cost her some happiness in life. Because Jesus would be a contradictory sign in the world, her heart would be pierced with sorrow. But all of this was to make manifest God’s glory.
The birth of Christ in our world and into our lives this Christmas ought to mean something to us. A watching world should be able to look at us and see Christ. On this Christmas Day, may we be found changing our hearts and minds so that we can be that Christ for all the world to see, no matter what the cost.