There is a song we hear at this time of the year that begins, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” With nature at times giving us storms, wildfires, earthquakes, with war still being waged, with people being killed just walking down the street, to say nothing of the COVID-19 pandemic, I do not need to tell you that there is a good deal of bedlam in our world. What is the source of whatever bedlam we are experiencing?
While centuries-old English hospital, St. Mary of Bethlehem went from Bethlehem to Bethlem, mispronounced at Bedlam, we need to move from bedlam to Bethlehem. The name Bethlehem means “house of bread” or “house of food.” We need that nourishment. Bethlehem gave the world the Bread of Life. We need to hear that heavenly announcement, the Good News, and be nourished by the Bread of life at Mass. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among all with whom he is pleased.” To go to Bethlehem is to know that at the center of things is the God of Peace. It is to know that he has the last word and that word is a word of peace. It means to know in our hearts, that because Jesus has been born in the world, the end has already been determined. Ultimately, one way or another, his peace will triumph.
The three wise men brought gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh to signify Jesus is priest, prophet, and King. What will our gift be?
As always the best gift we can give is ourselves. And so we bring our faith and trust and love. The magi went home by a different route. May we begin a new path this New Year renewed, transformed, and strengthened to embrace 2021 with the peace that Christ brought at Bethlehem.
Love, Peace, Joy