Among my favourite Christmas songs are ‘I believe in Father Christmas’ by Greg Lake, and ‘Mad World’ by Gary Jules. If you don’t know them, they’re really, really sad songs. I like when they interrupt the merry, joyful, and jubilant songs.
Because they remind me that in the light of Christmas, the suffering of the world is absurd. Where is the peace for people of good will? If God became man, how do we allow such suffering? If God came to us as a babe in a manger, why is there such loneliness?
If God came down to earth, where is He when we need Him so much? And if we truly believe God was so close to us, how can we remain so far from each other, from those in need?
The feast of Christ the King reminds me that despite the madness of the world, victory is already won, on the cross and by our faith. But for now, by our faith (“the victory that has overcome the world” (1Jn 5:4)), we must continually bring Christ into the world, in expectation of and longing for his final return, when he will fill all in all. This is the great tension of Advent.
How do we bring Christ into the world? By abiding in him, that is, by loving as he loves. By receiving and sharing in his love. This is what Christmas demands.
We cannot believe that Christ is born, without bringing him to this suffering world. Nor can we be ready for him, except by being among the lowly with him.
I strongly encourage us to bring Christ this Advent. To open our hearts more than our wallets, and to join a suffering world. To lower ourselves with Jesus. To be a friend of outcasts.