Christmas in Nashville. Sounds like a country song, doesn’t it?
My wife and I made the 13-hour drive from a small town north of Toronto to Music City so that we night celebrate Christmas with her side of the family.
For those of you who have made that trek, or a portion of it, you know that when I say that the drive is uneventful, this is a bit of an understatement. I was, therefore, left with a rare chance to reflect ahead of time upon this Christmas reflection.
As usual, I racked my brain for a clever syllogism disproving the false idols and philosophies of our wounded culture, or an insightful and unique take on a timeless truth.
And as usual, after much deliberation, I was left without much at all to write about.
In due course my mind became distracted, wandering to a variety of subjects such as my new life as a married man, my role at LifeSiteNews, and the new extended family with whom I would be spending Christmas this year.
Eventually, as if I was struck by a giant light bulb, these thoughts formed into one simple realization: what an incredible provider our Good Lord is.
Indeed, a simple realization, but not one that was always that obvious to me.
I remember that as a child, growing up in a devout Catholic family, things used to just click for me. Even at a young age, I can recall how certain instances in my life acted as landmarks in my young journey in faith, and how I always thought they were God’s little way of telling me I was on the right track. In hindsight, they were like the dots in a connect-the-dots game, keeping me on the straight path as I ventured deeper into the world.
But at a certain point, and by my own volition, the dots started showing up fewer and farther between and the line began to stray from the path the dots marked out. Eventually, the dots were almost gone altogether. Almost.
To say that I didn’t want God in my life or to provide for me is a little too strong, His providence was simply far removed from my mind. I was my provider.
But I wasn’t a very good one. It was only after I hit near to rock bottom in my fourth year at university and grasped how truly alone I was, that I grudgingly resigned to the counsel of my family to flee the big city and visit the lay Catholic apostolate community of Madonna House in northern Ontario. It was at that time, after 9 long years, that the dots started to return. Slowly at first mind you, but one-by-one they returned.
My weak, hesitant, even bitter decision to leave the world behind and visit Madonna House in hopes of salvaging my soul, was a seed that bloomed into a new, beautiful tree, where God provided and still is providing everything it needs to flourish.
It’s a long story, but I can tell you that as a result of that one tiny act of the will, God’s providence has been very apparent in my life. Within one year, I met my wife, found my calling to the pro-life movement, and was offered a job with LifeSiteNews!
So as I reflect on Christmas this year, I am overwhelmed by how He takes care of us – of how much more worth we are than the sparrows! While Easter marks the pinnacle of salvation, Christmas denotes the pinnacle of God’s providence for man. From His Birth, God would provide our salvation. I never realized that the act of giving presents to loved ones at Christmas is derived first and foremost from God’s gift of self to his most cherished creation.
My life story, like all of ours, is a microcosm of the Christmas story. We were lost and needed a savior to make straight the path.
And God provided One.
God asks for so little in exchange. He does not ask for perfection. He does not expect us to map out the journey. He only asks that we surrender our efforts, however small, to His perfect and just will. One day at a time, one step at a time, turning it all over to Him, to His divine and precious providence. Thus He will redeem each and every action to the glory of His name, to the salvation of all of creation.
If this weren’t the case, all of us fighting for life and family would be a long way up the creek!
As we soldier on this Christmas, let’s remove our minds from what 2010 has in store. Let’s not dwell on the potential outcomes of the US health care reform or the climate summit in Copenhagen, but revel in the miracle of the incarnation, the tiny baby who is God, whose gestation and birth assigned dignity and respect to every future baby -unborn and born. Let us revel in the fact that God called us in the first place to take part in his glorious plan for those who desire it.
What an honor.