Sometime ago I came across this Christmas prayer by Fra Giovanni written in 1513. I am adopting it as my Christmas prayer for all of you brothers and sisters in the BCBP, friends and business associates because I believe Fra Giovanni truly espoused the deeper meaning of Christmas. Jun and I send you our warmest wishes for a blessed Christmas season and a New Year filled with God’s love.
Fra Giovanni’s Christmas Prayer
“I am your friend, and my love for you goes very deep. There is nothing really that I can give you which you do not already have. But there is much – very much – that you can take even if I am not the one to give it to you.
No heaven can ever come to us unless our hearts find rest in God this Christmas. Take heaven for a gift this Christmas.
No peace lies in the future for us which is not already hidden in this present little moment. So take peace which is in the hidden places around us today.
The gloom of our world is really only a shadow. Behind the gloom, yet still within our reach is joy. Take joy for your heart this Christmas.
Life is actually a very generous giver, but because we judge the gifts of life by their covering, we cast them away as ugly, or heavy, or hard. Remove the covering from the gifts of life and you will find beneath it a living splendor woven of love.
Welcome life and its gifts, and you touch the angel’s hand that brings life to you. The angel’s hand is in everything that we call a trial, a duty, or a sorrow. And the gift is there too – the Christmas gift of God.
There are joys this Christmas, too. But do not be content with them only as joys. They also conceal God’s gifts as well.
Life is full of meaning and purpose. It is full of beauty beneath its covering. I pray that this Christmas you will discover that earth is only a cloak for heaven. All we need then is courage this Christmas – courage to claim the heaven which is in the midst of our earth. That courage is God’s Christmas gift to us who are pilgrims together wending our way home through a strange country.
So this Christmas, I send you greetings. They are not exactly the kind of greetings the world sends. But I send them to you with great love and with the prayer that for you this Christmas and forever the day will break and the shadows will flee away.”