Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Antioch’s “small, extraordinary Christmas miracles”

"Every year, they tell us that if we – like the shepherds and the magi – are capable of placing all our vanity, presumption, pride and obstinacy at the foot of the manger, then we too, like Mary, will be able to say: ‘The Lord has looked down on my lowliness: my soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit exults in God my Saviour’. It will be Christmas for us too, the real Christmas that fills the heart with Peace and Light."

"Christmas, then, is the feast of the Lowliness of God, a feast in which the small, extraordinary miracles of everyday life are celebrated.

If this is really the case, I am sure, then, that it was Christmas for Leyla, a poor Muslim widow who, with generosity, care and affection, prepared handmade biscuits in “industrial quantities” for her neighbours’ 12 children – even poorer than herself – so that they could celebrate the birth of Jesus with joy.

And it was Christmas for the 10 Christian children who gathered to pray around Baby Jesus in a crib they made from coloured paper throughout Advent. As they prayed, their peers played ball in the neighbourhood alleys, just like any other day, unaware of the great event unfolding.

And then there was the group of youth and elderly people, children, men and women, Christians and Muslims who defied the rain and cold of the night to celebrate Christmas Mass in ‘St Peter’s Grotto’, gathered around the bishop of Anatolia, Mgr Padovese. I certainly believe they relived the anticipation felt by the shepherds, that they too experienced the need for the goodwill and peace of God – even if perhaps they did not have a pre-tailored, precise idea of what to expect. Did the Light of Love enter their open hearts?"

"And who knows how many other Christmases – here in Antioch, in this corner of Turkey, and in the whole world – passed unnoticed by man, but certainly seen by God…

Small gestures, perhaps miracles which will not change the course of history, but surely they will leave their mark in the hearts of those who know how to guard them and pass them on."
>>> <<< Antioch’s “small, extraordinary Christmas miracles”

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