Daily Reflection
December 25th, 2000
by
Greg Carlson, S.J.
Classical & Near Eastern Studies
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Nativity of the Lord - Christmas
Readings for Mass at Midnight

Readings for Mass at Dawn

Readings for Mass During the Day

It can be hard to pray on Christmas.  We may want the day to be special, and it may not turn out that way.  Christmas can include or recall some pain, loss, or loneliness.  For some of us, it is a tough day to get through.  For all of us, it may involve some difficult moments.  I recommend a kind of Christmas prayer that has been helpful to me.  

I recommend praying with the little drummer boy in the "Parum-pum-pum-pum" carol.  Let the song play through, and you will come to the place near the end of its little drama.  The boy says quietly 

Then he smiled at me, 
Parum-pum-pum-pum,
Me and my drum.
The smile of one child to another expresses for me what Christmas is about.  This feast is our celebration of the great and surprising fact of our faith history: God has smiled at us!  As Jesus' last gesture on transcending this world was to bless it, so his first gesture on entering it was to smile on us.  We so easily fear God.  We hide from God.  We try to please God.  We strive to justify ourselves in God's sight.  As we fear, hide, try, and justify, what look do we project onto God's face?  Anything but a smile!  In the midst of our efforts, we miss what is so much more important than what we do.  God cares for us, enjoys us, looks on us with delight!  Might we spend today's prayer allowing God to smile on us?  If for us that smile comes from a child in a manger, as it did for the drummer boy, then so much the better! 
Baby Jesus, 
Parum-pum-pum-pum, 
I am a poor boy too, 
Parum-pum-pum-pumů. 
When I have found things hindering me from enjoying that smile at Christmas, I have found it helpful to let those resistances be my poverty for today.  If we are feeling some pain or strife or loneliness or if we find ourselves longing that things might be better, we can let these things tell us quietly that we too are poor--like the drummer boy and like Jesus.  God's smile is for all of us poor kids.  Come and behold it!
 
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