Acts 6:8-10, 7:54-59
On the day after Christmas many of us might be feeling a bit disappointed. We didn’t get what we asked or hoped for. Disappointment comes from dreams and hopes unfulfilled.
When I was ten years old, my grandparents gave me a very nice and probably expensive peddle car for Christmas. I was deeply disappointed. You see, not only was I was too tall to even get into it at all-itself a source of delight for my brothers-but I was simply too old for this toy. I did not get what I wanted, which was a new baseball glove. My sister got one, though, which really underscored my disappointment.
All through Advent we pray, "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel." We sing, "Joy to the world, the Lord is come." And yet we continue to hear of great poverty, the scourge of war, the fear of violence, and the loss of a child. The promise of Christmas, the hope of the Child Jesus born among us seems dashed.
I suppose that if our dreams and hopes did not run so deep, our disappointment would not be so poignant. We don’t live yet in a world at peace. We still are rocked by senseless deaths. We hope and dream for something more for ourselves, our families and our world.
There are two cultural tales of Christmas that compete with one another. One is the story of Santa Claus bringing us what we asked for-or not. The other is the story of a Child born in poverty in a way out of the way place. In the first story, Christmas Day comes and goes. In the second, Christmas is a life-long journey of living out in our own lives the hopes and dreams the Child Jesus delivers to us. If there is any disappointment, it’s probably realizing that I am not living out the hopes and dreams that Jesus gives to me as a gift.
Robert Hotz is a consultant with American City Bureau, Inc. and is the Director of The Passion of Christ: The Love That Compels Campaign for Holy Cross Province.