faith in christ or a christless christmas
"He saw and believed." —John 20:8
Christmas is for those who have faith in Jesus as the Messiah, Savior, Lord, and God. Faith is a great gift of God and the basis for receiving most of His other gifts. Because of a lack of faith, many people have nothing to do at Christmas or in life but to accumulate possessions and distract themselves by frantic, empty activity.
Only one-fourth of the world professes the faith in Christ necessary for Christmas, happiness, freedom, peace, and life. We must grow in that faith if we are to share it more zealously. "Faith comes through hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rm 10:17, our transl).
To give yourself opportunities to grow in faith, read all or part of the Gospel of John on this feast of the apostle and evangelist, St. John. In this Christmas season, read with the Church at Mass the three letters of John. Consider reading the Psalms during the Christmas season (see our leaflet, Your Christmas Present: The Psalms). Most importantly, go to Mass daily, and read before and after Mass the daily Mass readings. In all this Bible reading, you will have opportunities to accept God's gift of greater faith. John wrote: "These have been recorded to help you believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, so that through this faith you may have life in His name" (Jn 20:31).
Prayer: Father, grace me to grow strong in my "holy faith through prayer in the Holy Spirit" (Jude 20).
Promise: "Indeed, our purpose in writing you this is that our joy may be complete." —1 Jn 1:4
Praise: John had a tremendous grasp of Jesus as the Light of the world (Jn 8:12) and announced this repeatedly (e.g. 1 Jn 1:5). His insight has illuminated the hearts of countless Christians over the centuries.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, June 1, 1997
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 9, 1997