Rome (Italy). “For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.” (Lk 2:11) This is the message of Christmas greetings from the Mother General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sister Yvonne Reungoat.
It is wonderful to meet each other in what has now become an awaited and desired appointment, on the eve of Christmas, the feast of the Incarnation of the Lord. The Christmas we are preparing to live is a Christmas that is different from the others due to the health situation all over the world, the grief, the pain, the fears, the worries that have entered, in different forms, in every community, in every family. Many, even among us, have been affected in family affections and friendships, some have experienced serious illness. A number of our Sisters have gone to Heaven.
It is a different Christmas that we are about to experience, we are all aware of this. It is a very special Christmas, and it must not be sad anymore. There will be fewer lights, fewer trees, fewer crèches, fewer festive events, but the Lord allows this to make our anticipation grow and mature. We lived Advent, the expectation of Jesus’ coming. And if He comes, we cannot stand still, we must go out to meet Him with love, because He is the light that illumines the world, He comes to save us … Christmas is going to meet Jesus, placing our life in His hands. Christmas is going to meet sisters and brothers, so that the proclamation may reach each one of them. “Today a savior is born in the city of David, who is Christ the Lord”, a today that is not only chronological, but also the today of the presence of God in human life and history, the today that gives substance to hope.
We pray it will be a Christmas of hope, the hope that comes from the encounter with Jesus, from the service to those who are poorest, alone, who live in the ‘peripheries’ of which the Pope speaks so much, and no longer have the strength to fight to build a better tomorrow …
The song of the angels: do not be afraid
The Angels, who appeared to the shepherds sang: “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.” (Lk 2:10-11)
It is a song that we can welcome in our life, marked by the situation in which we are immersed and always under the gaze of the Father; a song that we must make resound in the life of those who meet us, of young people first of all. It is an proclamation for us, for each of us, for each man and each woman, because it contains the encouragement: “Do not be afraid“.
“Do not be afraid“: this is the word that is repeated to us today: do be afraid, I am with you, I do not abandon you, I know how to draw good even from the tide of pain that seems to want to overwhelm you.
The song of the Angels: I proclaim to you a great joy
Not being afraid, knowing how to hope is also the condition for being able to rejoice.
If our heart is closed and turned in on itself in an attitude of self-defense, if it sees everything gray and irreversibly negative, it is not accessible to any proclamation of joy. If young people do not find along their journey educators who know how to point out horizons full of light, even if difficult to reach, they will not be able to listen to the song of the Angels and go to Bethlehem to ‘see’ the Child.
I proclaim to you a great joy. It is the joy of knowing that God continues to love us and never abandons us, the joy of being able to love each other. It is the joy of a completely free and infinite salvation, the joy of being able to be signs of His presence for those who need to meet Him in the face of those who know how to love freely, of those who offer beautiful prospects and fullness, even in the midst of the fatigue of a difficult daily life.
The song of the angels: a Child is born for you
A child is born for you. Every birth brings joy to the family that desired and waited for a child. It is the victory of life, the triumph of dreams and hope!
Pope Francis reminded us in last year’s letter on the crèche “Admirable Sign”: “The birth of a child arouses joy and amazement because it sets us before the great mystery of life. Seeing the eyes of the young spouses shine in front of their newborn child, we understand the feelings of Mary and Joseph who, looking at the baby Jesus, perceived the presence of God in their life “(n.8).
The Child of Bethlehem brings the definitive victory of Life and that is why we can live Christmas in depth.
A child is born for us: Hope is born and reborn for us and for everyone: no matter how dark the horizon may be, we must always cultivate the certainty that behind the clouds there is still the sun that will return to shine in our sky, in the sky of this humanity.
The Child of Bethlehem is the sun that never sets, the sun that overcomes all disturbance and misery, all evil and poverty, all enmity and loneliness.
This is the message that is entrusted to us so that Christmas 2020 may be impregnated with hope and the expectation of what God works: “Behold, I make all things new!” (Rev 21:5)
May the Virgin of Nazareth and Bethlehem help us to be women of hope, to give it to those who live next to us, especially to the new generations, because Jesus comes every day to give Himself to us, to offer Himself to our love and adoration. If He is with us, if through us He wants to reach everyone, we cannot be sad and discouraged: our heart is full of His presence, which is joy!
I entrust to you my best wishes for your families, lay collaborators, young people: let the proclamation of hope resound for them too: a Child is born for you. May the song of the Angels resound for the Rector Major Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, for the Salesian confreres, and for all the priests who give us their ministry, for the Bishops of the dioceses: may they feel that they can always count on our sisterly collaboration …
May the proclamation of the Savior reach those who have not yet welcomed Christ into their life or do not know Him, and fill them with joy and hope!”
Holy and Merry Christmas 2021!
Rome, 24 December 2020
Suor Yvonne Reungoat
Superior General of the FMA Institute