Why did God forbid Adam and Eve from eating the fruit of one particular tree?
Why did God instruct His Chosen People to only take enough manna for one day?
Because fear, along with pride, “comes before the fall.” Pride is what tells us that we alone know what is best for ourselves and others. Reality tells us that this is simply untrue. When we realize our propensity for failure, we tend to project this notion onto God—we in our pride cannot imagine a Being Who is more powerful or intelligent than us, and so we resign ourselves to the thought that God is as fallible as we are. We become so concerned about tomorrow’s needs that we fail to really trust in God’s providence.
As Christmas approaches, the world tells us to focus on the things we need to do, make and buy. All of these responsibilities, combined with the obligatory “seasonal joy” with which we are to do it, can really drain us emotionally and spiritually. What we often don’t realize is that our extreme levels of stress and anxiety suggest that we do not trust in God to take care of us. We carefully make lists, check them twice, buy in advance, and stay up late worrying about the high cost of Christmas. How often do we make time for prayer, thanksgiving, and almsgiving? When we get ready for Christmas, for which guests do we prepare? Do we, like the busy innkeepers, get our priorities wrong?
In one of my favourite film depictions of the First Christmas, the wise men approach Mary and Joseph and their sleeping Infant. One of these foreigners steps forward and asks to hold the baby. Mother Mary unquestioningly places her little one in his arms, entrusting a stranger with her most precious gift. Oh, to have the trust in God that Mother Mary had! This Advent Season, let us first prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus by calming ourselves and trusting in God our Father. Things may not always go according to our own plan, and we should be thankful for that! After all, the recipe for the best Christmas ever will not be found on Pinterest, but in prayerful reflection of that first Christmas, which embraced poverty, trust and true charity toward our neighbor.
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