In the Gospel today I find the message of the angel Gabriel to Mary incredibly comforting: “Do not be afraid”. How we need to hear those words this time around! The ongoing wars between neighboring countries, disputes over faith and religion, and the cries of nature and natural calamities like floods and earthquakes… These cries left us fearful of the ongoing conflicts and deaths, perplexed by the contradicting messages, and anxious and even scared at the mention of additional attack waves. It is only natural that we yearn for good news; we search for a glimmer of hope; we long for the promise of a brighter future.

The marvel of the Christ-child, born in Bethlehem to be our Savior, is the good news, hope, and promise that people of faith find. Our journey through uncertainty and the unknown is guided by faith, just like that of the Magi who followed the star. We firmly grab the hand of God, who created us, who redeemed and saved us, and who is journeying with us every step of the route, just as a loving father takes the hand of his frightened child. God’s hand and the hope that Christ gives are extended to every one of us individually. Christmas urges us to have a personal contact with God and to become friends with Him.

Father Palau sees and feels the same: that God takes me by hand like a good father and leads me where he wants. Let us allow God to take care of us, to govern us, to guide us and this trust and confidence will shield us against the horrible worries, anxieties and fears as we face another chapter of our life. To abandon ourselves in his divine providence, our faith maybe challenged like Mary’s. Nevertheless, surrendered to a call from God, she was not ridiculed and compounded by faith. Though powerless but most valued in the eyes of God.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are unable to be home with us this Christmas, and especially with our ‘brothers and sisters’ who are struggling to cope this year with the pain of loneliness, suffering, grief and loss of love ones. We are thankful that, even in the shadows and darkness of this year, light has been shining out in countless examples of love and tenderness.

May we contemplate the Christmas scene from the depths of our hearts, really welcoming everything that the mystery of the incarnation contains. Let wonder and thanksgiving permeate our lives, families, and communities as we celebrate the great good news of joy that our Savior has been born today.