The mad rush to Christmas is over. Time to give yourself permission to forget the cards never sent, the present to be exchanged, the unreturned text, the engagement that did not happen. If only for a day. All will be well. It’s okay to relax and rejoice. But why should it be just for a day?

Still have things to do? Of course. There are always things to do. Too many things. Demands, obligations, projects and commitments. They’re always there. But God has things to do, too, and you and I are tops on his list. 

This is the message of Christmas: God is with us and for us. How could he have made the point clearer than by sending his Word to become incarnate, humbly, like a nobody born in a nowhere place, in a stable among animals and shepherds? 

No one knows exactly when or where Jesus was born. The Bible doesn’t enter the debate. What matters is Jesus is born among us. A divine Person has taken on human flesh, permanently and irrevocably bonded with humanity, each and every one of us. You and I may feel alone, abandoned, ignored, disvalued – by other (sinful) humans, even by friends and family. But we are not, because God will not leave us.

The run up to Christmas often deafens and deadens the Advent message that it is God who comes to us and not the other way around. So much time is spent worrying and wearing ourselves out that it is easy to miss the meaning of Christmas. Soon the tree is dry, the wrappings are discarded, the meal is over. All in a day. Does Jesus get a chance to enter our lives, put up his feet, relax and stay a while, so we can get to know one another?

Some do celebrate “the 12 days of Christmas,” keeping the spirit till at least Jan. 6, the Feast of the Magi. Christian tradition actually extends the season, observed in the custom of displaying the crèche through Feb. 2, the Feast of the Presentation.

Here is the heart of the message: God longs to come to us, to knock on the door of our hearts, hoping for a welcome, to enter our reality with his love, to stay with and sustain us. So why just keep Christ IN Christmas? Why not let him into our life every day? Christmas can and should be every day. Christ-Mass, if you will, is what every Mass is where Christ comes in Word and in Sacrament, really present to us, the same Lord the saints in heaven behold in the face. How’s that for a connection!

Believer and seeker alike often lament that they are looking to find God, searching but not finding. The truth is God longs for us, for a place in our heart. Read the Scriptures. That’s what Jesus is all about – seeking the lost, the poor, the marginalized, the condemned. That’s why he came, lived and died as one of them. One of us! Think of that. Jesus is never closer to us than when we are most in the dark, in a rut of sin or depression, about to lose hope. He is the dawn that breaks the darkness. Surprisingly, undeservedly, without warning or welcome, he is here. And he will stay. Like any gift, the beloved must accept and open it. And the gift he wants is our heart. Can I accept being accepted? Will I let the Light into my soul?