‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…’ so the song goes, but is it? It’s hot out! While surfing the TV channels, I came across a Christmas movie on Hallmark. In July? There is another Christmas song, ‘Why can’t we have Christmas the whole year around, why can’t we have Christmas the whole year around.’
When we think of Christmas we tend to think of the baby Jesus and gifts. Not Blessed Celeste, the foundress of the Redemptoristines. She speaks of Jesus’ incarnation as how Jesus crossed “…an abyss in which the angels still get lost, and that humiliation he underwent as God when, in the first instant of his incarnation, lowered himself to take on human flesh, and, though God, became man.” Blessed Celeste often speaks of the God-Man/Man-God, and his “…admirable excess of Divine Love,” that led him to the cross.
This excess of Divine Love is what the Incarnation, Jesus’ living, dying and rising was all about. Celeste speaks of Christ in the present tense: living, rising, dying because we are called today to live out in our lives God’s Plan of Love through our joyful participation in and union with the Life of Jesus for the redemption of the world.
How can we have Christmas and live the incarnation the whole year around when we are so - human? Invariably, when people live together we grate on each other with our failings and foibles. As Redemptoristines, we open the gift of excessive Divine Love given to us by God to lift us beyond our imperfections and eccentricities and humanly, humbly give the gift of love and understanding to one another.
To help us keep Christmas in our hearts all year around we would all do well to receive the gift excessive Divine Love by recalling Jesus words to Celeste, “At the hour of sunrise, the memorial hour of my Incarnation, I, the divine Sun, rose upon the world and warmed the earth with the Dew of the Grace of the Holy Spirit upon all my creatures.”
So, let us soak up the July sun and wish one another a Merry Christmas this July.