Ever since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what [God] has made [Romans 1:20].
When we lift our sights toward Heaven, we begin to see God’s beauty here on earth. Whether it is in nature from the tiniest wild flower to the most majestic mountain or in the ordinary duties of our daily routine, our Lord gives us His gifts of love.
In nature’s wonders are reflections of God’s heavenly graces. “Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, … yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more important than they? … If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown in the oven tomorrow, will He not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?” said Jesus [Matthew 6:26-30]. “… Seek first the Kingdom [of God] and His righteousness” [Matthew 6:33].
The Presence of God
However, seeking God—sensing His presence and His gifts—is difficult especially when our lives are not centered on our Almighty Father and the sharing of His graces. We are easily distracted in the busyness of our days and do not realize that our Lord is reaching out to us. Let us consider the story of Martha and her sister Mary. Martha called on Jesus to have Mary help her with the serving instead of listening to Jesus speak. Jesus replied: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her” [Luke 10:41-42].
When we put God first in our lives, everything else will fall into its proper place including our work and daily duties. St. Teresa of Avila once said: “Our Lord is moving among the pots and pans.” In Martha’s case, Martha saw her serving only as a chore and not as an opportunity to draw closer to God. If we open our hearts, minds, and souls, we can be filled with the presence of God in our life, work, marriage, singleness, and in the most ordinary ways. Every chore, every duty, everything we do in the presence of God can become an act of love for God.
With the presence of God, our faith becomes more alive and more active. Our hope in the eternal strengthens as we experience the greatness of God. Material wealth becomes less important. Envy, jealousy, anger, resentment are no longer forces in our lives. Instead, we find that our acts of love, thanksgiving, sacrifices, and offerings become continuous as we no longer live for ourselves; we live for God. We decrease as our Lord increases within us, and as our Lord increases, we are raised higher and higher in holiness, drawing us closer to Heaven.
Do Not Be Afraid
In addition, Mary our Blessed Mother shows us that there is no better place to be than in God’s hands. Everything Mary did in her lifetime was for the love of God, whose merciful love filled Mary’s heart. With that love, Mary is mother of our Savior and mother to us all. Full of grace, Mary’s heart never hardened and as dispenser of God’s graces, Mary shares all that she can to bring us closer to our Lord. Why else would Christ have been born in a stable with this humble handmaid as His mother?
God so loves the world that He came down from heaven to raise us up. Do we overlook the fact that, in all humility, our Lord came into our world to walk, talk, eat, and live among ordinary people so that those seeking salvation could draw close to Him without fear just as the shepherds did as our Lord lay in a manger? How else can we learn to love our Lord as Mary loves Him—with all our hearts?
Opening our hearts to God, as Mary did, allows us to be filled with God’s gifts of faith, hope, and love that will see us through all the days of our lives and help us to rise in holiness throughout our journey toward Heaven. And as we become more focused on our Lord’s presence and offer up what we do in our day as acts of love for God, we recognize the gifts God gives to us to help us through each day. We realize our Lord “is not far away from any one of us. For ‘In Him we live and move and have our being'” [Acts 17:27-28]. A sense of peace takes over within us in good days and bad. We are able to say, “Ok Lord, let it be done to me according to Your Word.”
Kingdom of Heaven
God’s greatest gift is His merciful love given to us through Jesus Christ, who came into this world to live and die for us, and He will come again, giving us the hope of everlasting life in the Kingdom of Heaven. With His merciful love, our Lord gives us everything we need for our salvation.
To prepare for the coming of our Savior, who offers himself to us, let us offer up ourselves and everything we do each day of our lives as an act of love for God. To be true children of God, let us humble ourselves and become little—to decrease so that our Lord can increase in our lives. When Christ is formed in us, the mystery of Christmas is fulfilled in us.
Let us remember, our Lord did not come into this world to hide, but to share the way, the truth and life that leads to Heaven. Therefore, let us not hide God’s presence in our lives or bury His graces. This Christmas season let us remember to give thanks with all our love and to share our Lord’s gifts of faith, hope, and love—for peace on earth and good will to one and all.