One of the best parts about Christmas is sharing the gifts we received. I just returned from visiting my brother and his family for a couple of days and it seems that most of our time is spent sharing good, beautiful and true things with each other. Whether we are sharing Gus’s pretzels, my nephew or niece’s latest smile, or something about our faith we are always sharing. We rarely ever keep these astounding gifts to ourselves- and when we do keep them to ourselves we rightly feel guilty. Gifts are meant to be shared.
Today we celebrate Epiphany, when God’s greatest gift to humanity was first made known to the rest of the world. This little baby of this young mother who is married to a poor carpenter as they live in a backwater province of the Roman Empire, this little baby changes the world. The world comes to greet this little baby.
We hopefully spend these 12 days of Christmas thinking over and wondering about this little baby. The most basic and yet most earth shattering thing that we can say is that this baby fully reveals God to humanity. Again, this baby fully reveals God to all men and women of the earth. What does that mean?
Most simply, we Christians believe that there is nothing more that God can say to us than what is said through the life, teachings, and Church of Jesus Christ. As Christians, we believe that the greatest and most complete gift ever given by God to the human race is found in Jesus Christ.
We believe that the answers to all problems, all pains, and all passions are found in Jesus Christ- and not always in the way we imagine or prefer. The great moral questions of our day, the great questions of right and wrong have their truest and best answer in Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Catholic Church. This is what we believe.
From the very beginning, the whole world sought Jesus Christ- today we read of the wise men, the magi, and the kings of the Orient who sought Jesus to honor Him, even if they didn’t understand Him. St. Paul, in our reading from Ephesians, speaks of the greatest of all mysteries revealed in Jesus Christ. So what are we to do with this greatest of gifts in Jesus Christ and His Church?
If we believe in this great gift, we must do two things: use it and share it with others.
If we believe in Christmas, in God becoming one of us, we must use it. We must put all of our troubles, especially our personal and moral troubles to the test of Jesus Christ and His Church- what answer does He give us? If we believe in Christmas, in God becoming one of us, we must share it. We must invite everyone we know to put all of their troubles, especially their personal and moral troubles to the test of Jesus Christ and His Church.
When each of us does these two things: using and sharing the gift of Jesus Christ, then the peace that the angels sang to the shepherds will be felt by the whole earth. Then we will be sharing the best and greatest of gifts!