Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life
One of the Christmas songs you’ll hear on the radio during these days is called “Grown-up Christmas List.” It speaks of the fact that age does not stop us from dreaming, and that as life goes on, our wishes at Christmas are not for ourselves, “but for a world in need.” The list begins, “No more lives torn apart, that wars would never start…that right would always win.”
Do we dare to hope for these things, just because the calendar says December 25 is approaching?
Indeed, the question for a Christian is, “How we can dare not to hope for these things?” Christmas lists, after all, spring from Christmas hope, and Christmas hope is based on an historical fact: God has already given us everything in His Son. St. Paul asks, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32).
We look for good things in life, and good things are all around us. Yet the best of good things does not satisfy us completely. The best relationships leave something to be desired, and the best vacations always end and leave us looking forward to the next one. This is because every good thing is just a reflection of goodness itself.
In the birth of Christ, we find that total, infinite goodness. “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Col. 2:9). “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (Heb. 1:3). In the birth of Jesus Christ, almighty God has given to the human family His last, best offer of hope.
The wonder of Christmas, in fact, is that the promised coming of the Messiah of the Lord was fulfilled in a surprising way that surpassed the hopes and dreams of the people of old. On the first Christmas night, angels announced Christ’s birth to the shepherds. But instead of saying that Jesus was the Messiah of the Lord, they said that He is “Messiah and Lord” (Lk. 2:11). God, in other words, did not simply send someone to represent Him. He came Himself!
Christmas is not about the birth of a child who became a great man. It is about a God who created the human family, and then decided to become a member of that family. Christmas is not when Jesus began; it is when Jesus began existing as one of us, and thereby joined all of us to Himself. He joins to His Divinity all who share human nature: the weak and strong, the small and big, the born and unborn. Christmas is universal, and is about the exaltation of the human person.
That’s why our “grown-up Christmas list” can say “no more lives torn apart” — whether by abortion or anything else. Christmas lists spring from Christmas hope, and Christmas is all about the victory of life!