At the centre of this week, of course, is the Christmas celebration for which we have been waiting and preparing throughout Advent. Much has been said and written about the sentimentality of this season, and of the various ways in which it is abused or misunderstood. But the truth is that even the call to “put Christ back into Christmas” misses the point. Christmas is not, essentially, the celebration of a baby, no matter how divine. What we celebrate is the new order that is marked by this baby’s birth. In Christ the first signs of God’s Reign, which has invaded our world, are seen. In Christ God’s Reign is now available and accessible to us. In Christ the world of God’s dreams – the world we long for – is becoming a reality among us. Even for Jesus, his mission and message were never about himself. It was all about the Reign of God.

The readings this week, including those for Christmas Day, seek to move us away from any picture postcard illusions about this season. They refuse to leave us in a happy, comfortable celebration that asks nothing of us. Rather, the Scriptures on which we will meditate this week will challenge us to choose between the “kingdoms of this world” and the kingdom of God. They are subversive, revolutionary readings that call for a radically different way of being in the world. The point of this celebration is not so much that we worship the baby, but that we follow the baby in his mission to establish God’s dream on the earth. As Richard Rohr says, that’s why Jesus never says, “Worship me”. He only ever says, “Follow me”. This is what we will explore this week.

To download this week’s reflections in PDF format, click here.