Christmas is a day of peace, of love, and of hope. It is a day that looks to the past, the present, and the future, and it recognizes that Christ has come, is here, and will come again. Above all else, it is a day when we should join together just as God has joined us.
In Pope Francis's 2018 “Urbi et Orbi” address for Christmas, he stressed the need for unity among God's children: “What does that Child, born for us of the Virgin Mary, have to tell us? What is the universal message of Christmas? It is that God is a good Father and we are all brothers and sisters. This truth is the basis of the Christian vision of humanity. Without the fraternity that Jesus Christ has bestowed on us, our efforts for a more just world fall short, and even our best plans and projects risk being soulless and empty.”
We pretend that our differences are enough to justify our immoral behavior. We claim that we are right to act in the wrong way because someone else deserves it. It is an excuse, a lie that we tell ourselves, but our differences are not reason to hate one another. Instead, we should embrace the spirit of Christian fraternity.
Fraternity is not a unity in thought but in purpose. It is a coming together of different people to share in love, God's love, as Pope Francis explains: “The experience of families teaches us this: as brothers and sisters, we are all different from each other. We do not always agree, but there is an unbreakable bond uniting us, and the love of our parents helps us to love one another. The same is true for the larger human family, but here, God is our 'parent', the foundation and strength of our fraternity.”
So often, we are willing to wage war on our fellow man just as Cain declared war on his brother, Abel. Be it jealousy or spite, our reason for hating one another is meaningless because hate is meaningless. It serves no purpose but to take us away from God and his love. In embracing hate, we banish ourselves from his light.
But Christ was still born of the Virgin Mary in spite of our history of hate, because we can always change. True love does not dwell on past wrongs but seeks future good. It is a light that can banish any darkness, and Christ is the light that guides us back to the righteous path. Christmas is proof that we can always return to our Father's home. Like the Prodigal Son, we were lost, but we can always be found once again.
Now is the time where we must put aside our differences and embrace love. This does not require us to change our thoughts but our behaviors. With the Christmas season here, we must renew our dedication to spreading love.