The Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas
(I John 2:12-17; Luke 2:36-40)
Reading the First Letter of John today corrects tendencies to exaggerate the goodness of worldly pleasures. Especially during the Christmas season, food abounds and drink flows. It is a time for movies, party games, and -- for the more vigorous -- skiing or ice-skating. But, of course, the world poses as many challenges to Christian life as it presents benefits. John’s letter warns Christians of its pitfalls. The “children” to whom it refers are the members of his church community. The “fathers” are the men and women who, having long accepted the faith, know well the love of God which comes through Jesus Christ. The “young men” are newcomers to Christianity. They have overcome the allurements to sin which hold others from commitment to Christ. But still both groups have to stand guard against the world’s temptations which remain the triple threats of lust, envy, and pride.
As we approach the beginning of a new year, we should prepare ourselves to contend with these three great nemeses. We want to seek God’s assistance when lustful desires enter our thoughts. We need to thank God for what we have and to take care that we do not constantly look to our neighbors’ bounty for what we lack. Finally, we should remind ourselves daily that we live to serve God, not to be served by others.