December 4, 2014
In a recent homily, Pope Frank spoke about the importance of focusing on others, rather than ourselves. What a perfect piece of advice to focus on with Christmas and Advent approaching!
Oftentimes, Christmas can cause us to look inward and focus on our own lives and concerns: shopping lists, baking, etc., I wonder how different it would be if we would instead be focused on others, like Francis encourages us to be.
“It is so difficult to listen to the voice of Jesus, the voice of God, when you believe that the whole world revolves around you: there is no horizon, because you become your own horizon.” Pope Frank is pretty direct with us here. I’d say that generally, it’s easy to get caught up in our own little worlds, whether we mean to or not.
Take the upcoming Christmas season for example. We are focused on our own to-do lists, our own family plans. But this inward focus can limit our Christmas experience. Imagine how different it would be if we were less concerned about our own plans and more concerned about reaching out to others during the month of December. Consider instead to focus on bringing the season’s joy to those who are home-bound or sick, or give to those who aren’t as fortunate. We might see completely new horizons that we never knew existed.
In that same homily, Pope Francis went on to say that we don’t really know what it means to celebrate, unless we understand the importance of being with others and not being consumed with our own interests. I like that. Pope Frank wants his people to know how to celebrate. No one can argue with that. But we can overlook what it means to truly celebrate.
I hope to make a new commitment this Advent and Christmas season, and I challenge you to do the same. I hope to focus less on my own little plans and lists, and try to focus more on the bigger picture; more on the people around me and on their needs.
And, most importantly, I hope to spend more time celebrating with the person who matters most -- Christ. I trust that we can all make it a point to be with Christ more this month. Maybe taking in an extra Mass or two a week, or an extra hour of adoration where we can simply spend time with Him, celebrating as His birthday approaches. If that seems like too much right now, even adding a few extra minutes of prayer at the beginning or end of our days would be a perfect start. Or perhaps an activity or tradition with the family such as getting everyone together to make Jesus a birthday cake.
Let’s make it a point to celebrate the birth of Christ this year by taking time especially for Him and for others. It might be more freeing than we think to forget about ourselves a little and experience horizons we never knew existed.