In our excitement and quest to experience Heaven on earth, we often fail to receive all the gifts Christ wants to give to us at Christmastime.

He shares with us the very gifts presented to Him by the three Wise Men:

  1. The refined purity and spiritual wealth of gold
  2. The incense of prayer that unites us to the Eternal Will of God
  3. The bitter myrrh of human suffering

The first two gifts we can entertain, whether we truly accept them or not.

But suffering usually doesn’t fit into our idea of Christmas.

We cringe and try to flee at the first sign of suffering, especially during what is supposed to be a joyous time. It’s most upsetting when the time that’s supposed to be so happy is spoiled, usually by someone’s selfish or domineering expectations—maybe our own.

But it is then that God offers us the most advantageous opportunity to share in Jesus’ sufferings and extend their benefits—in his Divine Will—to all. The very thing we dread and try to avoid is a most special and blessed gift from God that has the power to transform us and bless others at the same time.

At times like these, when all seems to be going wrong, we have a choice. We can let it spoil our whole day. Or, we can dispel the darkness with a leap of faith and exude the goodness of God—and then watch the miracle happen.

This sharing in the sufferings of Christ is a bitter gift, but once lovingly accepted and assimilated, translates into joy. And brings a real peace that surpasses any false peace we would try to fabricate.

Thank you, Jesus, for sharing your life so intimately with us, for giving birth to true holiness and peace on earth in people of good will.