“Even in the worst years, Christmas has always brought some rays with it”

The true meaning of Christmas explained by someone who lived it in dark times

Once again, the world reaches the beautiful Christmas holidays, this time with two wars underway in Europe and the Middle East.

There are people who think that Christmas is lights on the streets, dinners, gifts and good feelings. But what is the true meaning of this celebration? It was explained very well by a person who experienced Christmas in very dark moments in history:

"There comes to my mind spontaneously the memory of my feelings and my experiences, beginning from the years of my childhood in my father's house, through the difficult years of youth, the period of the second war, the world war. May it never be repeated in the history of Europe and of the world! Yet, even in the worst years, Christmas has always brought some rays with it. And these rays penetrated even the hardest experiences of contempt for man, annihilation of his dignity, of cruelty. To realize this, it is enough to pick up the memories of men who have passed through the prisons or concentration camps, the war fronts and the interrogations and trials. A gleam of faith.

This ray of Christmas Night, a ray of the birth of God, is not only a memory of the lights of the tree beside the crib at home, in the family or in the parish church. It is something more. It is the deepest glimpse of humanity visited by God, humanity newly received and assumed by God himself; assumed in the Son of Mary in the unity of the Divine Person: the Son-Word. Human nature assumed mystically by the Son of God in each of us who have been adopted in the new union with the Father.

The irradiation of this mystery extends far, very far, and even reaches those parts and those spheres of men's existence, in which any thought of God has been almost obscured and seems to be absent, as if it were burnt out completely. And lo, with Christmas night a gleam appears: perhaps in spite of everything? Happy this "perhaps in spite of everything" ... it is already a gleam of faith and hope."

Saint John Paul II, December 27, 1978.

Merry christmas!


Image: "Adoration of the Shepherds", by Gerard van Honthorst, 1622.

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