Christmas 2017

Dear friends,

The Christmas crunch is here. There are just days to go and I can imagine many of us still have a list of “to dos” that give us a pinch of stress. That actually is OK; our adrenalin rises and we seem to shift into high gear to make the final preparations. This can be a good kind of stress, what is termed “eu” stress versus “di” stress. It is the tension that builds out of joy and “too much” grace when we encounter the divine as we do during this beautiful season. I can imagine Mary and Joseph had some of this eustress on Christmas, with a newborn child, lots of unexpected company and a clear sense that God had invaded that small, poor stable.

 

This past summer I had to get new glasses and discovered I had double vision. It is not bad but enough that I had trouble focusing my sight. Therefore my new glasses have a prism in them. I wonder what it would be like to put on new spiritual glasses this Christmas to overcome spiritual double vision. All too often our society sees the world in two dimensions – the human, earthly one, and (hopefully) the divine dimension. But people have difficulty putting the two together into a unified view of daily life in which God enters the secular and transforms it. It is the mission of secular institutes to be the prism that helps people to bring the two worlds together.

 

An ordinary prism catches white light and disperses it into all the colors of the rainbow. In the Christmas season we want to catch the divine light of the mystery of salvation and disperse it in many various ways to others, each according to his or her need. What an art it is to take the mystery of the incarnation which we celebrate at Christmas and break it down to the unique and personal love which God has for each person. Jesus loves YOU and that gives each one a deep security as well as our personal identity. This realization is so essential for spiritual stability and unfortunately seems to be lacking in the lives of many people. We cannot say it enough: God has chosen each of us individually with our particular talents and gifts and loves us without limit. He wants so badly to share his merciful love with us, no matter what our background, no matter what we do or say, or don’t do or say. If only we trust him to let him show his love for us, how many lives could be changed.

 

My wish for you this Christmas is that you deeply experience the presence of Jesus in your life. His coming into the world is the Father’s love letter to each one of us individually. He became man so that he could personally lead you to heaven to spend your eternity with him. May he bring you much joy and grace in this holy season.

Marcia Vinje, president

USCSI