Abundance and Emptiness

To think of God is to think of abundance. To think of Jesus is to think of emptiness. This is the mystery, beauty and wonder of the Incarnation: God who is full became empty. The One who is rich beyond measure became poor by taking on the limitations of human flesh. In the miracle of Christmas is that the divine spirit took on bodily form. By sharing in the poverty of our humanity, God gave us the gift of being able to share in the richness and fullness of God to the extent of our willingness to follow Jesus’ example of self-emptying love, a love which requires us to turn away from every instinct toward selfishness. God gave God away. Do I give myself away? Christmas should not be about acquiring; Christmas should be about surrendering.

The simplicity and quiet aura that once was the air of Advent has been blown away by a thunderous storm of shopping. Last Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, shoppers fighting for Christmas bargains in a number of stores across the nations literally ended up stampeding over each other and breaking out into fights in order to grab some dumb gift that would somehow express their love to a family member on Christmas morning. The beauty of the Incarnation has been reduced to the ugliness of fighting over a bargain. Our existential hunger to love and be loved is fixed on acquiring material goods. While we fill ourselves with things, we are starving our souls. We do not need to reject the things of the world; we simply need to spend a more time cultivating our interior life and less time consuming more and more stuff.

This Christmas we should strive to give everyone we know the gift of peace and forgiveness, the gift of beauty and harmony, the gift of compassion and mercy.

I pray this Christmas that Jesus is born afresh in my heart and that I may receive the gift of grace that will help me turn away from my sinful tendencies and root out of my life everything that does not draw me closer to God.

“God cannot fill what is already filled. He cannot give Himself to us in greater, loving union unless we empty our hearts of all submission to selfishness.” – George Maloney, SJ


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