(LifeSiteNews) — It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that we live in a time of great darkness. Our politicians lie shamelessly and wield tyrannical power, church leaders betray their flocks, and our culture promotes values deeply antagonistic to the Truth that alone can set us free.
It’s a state of things that can cause us to feel deep uncertainty and even fear – even if the more direct challenges of our own lives aren’t enough to trigger anxiety.
And yet, wasn’t it always so?
We know that the Christ Child was born into a time and place fraught with political intrigue, persecution, and danger. In many ways, it was a time not at all dissimilar to our own, as the Remnant’s Michael Matt observed in a recent podcast.
But in our own time, just as then, we are not doomed to struggle through it alone.
This Christmas, I’m reflecting on the fact that the very same Infant Jesus Who came to us on Christmas Day 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem is with us today.
I think it’s worthwhile to remember that both then and now, He didn’t come to create a perfect political order, make sure our worldly affairs go smoothly, or even save us from hardship.
He said as much just before His Ascension into Heaven.
“I have told you this so that you might have peace in me,” Christ tells us in John 16:33. “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”
This is one of my favorite verses because it reinforces the idea that our peace is not rooted in the things of the world, but in our relationship with Christ Jesus. If we keep close to Him – no matter what happens in our lives, in our country, or in the entire world – we will not lose that peace.
Of course, we all have some anxiety in our lives. Maybe that’s because of the state of the world, or maybe it’s because of the specific situations in our lives. Maybe we have too much activity in our daily lives or too little. Maybe it’s time for a change, or maybe we need to seek contentment where we are.
If it’s natural to be anxious, though, it’s supernatural to have real and lasting peace.
In Philippians 4:6-7, St. Paul urges us to “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
If we really believe that Jesus Christ is Who He said He is, and that He was born in Bethlehem that Christmas day long ago in order to destroy the power of death over humanity, we can rest assured that nothing can truly harm us as long as we put our trust in Him.
There are so many ways to grow in grace this Christmas season. Christ is found in both the big and small parts of our lives, the active and the contemplative moments. We should ask Him how He wants us to serve others and glorify Him, and then let Him guide us there.
This year, I’ve joined the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who have committed to reading the Bible cover to cover using Father Mike Schmitz’s monumentally popular Bible in a Year podcast – it has been fantastic.
I’m also trying to carve out more time in my day to pray; to truly pray, mostly by learning how to be quiet and let God do the talking.
More than ever, this year I’m realizing that it’s not as much what I do in my faith that matters, but how much I surrender myself – wholly and entirely – to Jesus.
No matter what you’re going through this Christmas – even and especially if darkness, anxiety, or uncertainty are present for you – I pray that you keep your focus on the Star of Bethlehem. Walk confidently with your eyes upraised, and don’t look down.
Then, that glorious light will illuminate the darkness of this world and lead you to the Holy Child, whose peace truly surpasses all understanding.