What is the best gift you can give this Christmas? In one word, it is “Joy” – something others need to see. Not a false or manufactured type of joy, but the joy that comes from within, and cannot be dismissed as anything other than a joy that comes from having God dwell within us. Joy is contagious, it inspires and it transforms others. So this Christmas let the greatest gifts we receive and give be joy and the courage to show true joy to others, even when they are not open to receiving it. This year let joy be your gift to your families, friends, schools, and parish communities.
So how do you get more joy? Each year during Advent and Christmas, I ask myself one simple question, “Am I closer to God than I was a year ago?” If I can answer “yes,” then I can say it was a good year. Sure there may have been some difficult times, some unexpected setbacks and disappointments. Asking this question helps me to put into perspective that each year that improves my relationship with God is a not only a good year, but a great year. All the other things seem to be trivial if I can say I am closer to God, and thus I normally become more joyful. It is our daily prayer at Life Teen that you will have had a “great” year and that you are closer to God and more filled with joy than you were last year at this time.
What if it hasn’t been a great year? Christmas can turn it all around. Christmas is a time to dive deeper into your faith. With all the distractions of shopping, gifts, and general busyness of families we can lose sight of what is really happening – the Incarnation, where God comes to dwell among us to save us. I don’t know where you are in your spiritual journey, but for me there still are always things I need to be saved from. Whether it is a judgmental attitude, laziness in reading scripture, or a lack of patience with others, I need to take in the reality of Christmas and rejoice that God loves us enough to send His Son to save us. He loves us enough to give us His body in the Eucharist, to forgive our sins in confession, and loves us enough to send His mother the Virgin Mary to intercede for us. God wants all our hearts to not only be pure, but to be on fire and joyful so we can be mini-lighthouses to others so they might find their way to him – no matter how dark their world might appear.
On behalf of your Life Teen family, may this Christmas time be a time of true Joy for you. We are praying for you. Merry Christmas!
Life Teen President / CEO