I am thankful for the grace of being in Courage and being able to spend the past Christmas in a dialogue with our Lord. Very early before Advent 2022, I was prompted to prepare for Christmas by the activities and spiritual guidance I received in Courage. Here are some ways I experienced Christmas more meaningfully this year.
I attended the Christmas novena masses in our parish and felt moved to be closer to Jesus. One of the highlights was a song “Stay with Me” which was about the agony of our Lord in the Garden and his plea for us to stay with him. Reflecting on the song’s lyrics, it dawned on me how appropriate the words are for Christmas –words the child Jesus could also have pleaded for us to stay with him and not leave. I felt moved to be with little baby Jesus at that moment and just enjoy the Christmas-feel.
Stay with me, our Lord, pleaded, at Gethsemani
Yet it was Christmas time when he was yet to be born
Was it Mary hearing the words of Jesus in her womb?
Flashing in her mind what this child’s future would be?
Or is it just little Jesus mischievously playing in her womb wanting attention?
The words were real, transcending time, age and space
I found myself relating to St Joseph who cared for his family. While doing the year-end cleaning up, I chanced upon a notebook with some reflection notes I had written. They were to St. Joseph. I could not remember writing them however. Nevertheless, these prompted me to reflect on St Joseph, Mary’s “most chaste spouse.” As I attended Mass on the Feast of the Motherhood of Mary, and gazed at the nativity scene and looked at St. Joseph. I saw a worried father looking around. I realized he was like St Joseph when he was struggling to understand how Mary got pregnant. I myself have my own struggles as a father. I could have said, “I did not sign up for this” but I know my father’s vocation is to love, protect and provide for my wife and family.
The nativity scene in the manger finally comes
Whispers in the mind, sing:
What child is this?
What child is this, that the angels sing and the shepherds guard
The magi bring gifts and the stars adore?
Mary indeed saw these things and pondered them in her heart
As Christmas dawns upon the world, as she touches and cradles baby Jesus, love she poured
But more than anything she treasured the moment with the baby
And Joseph looked on, also wondering in awe what was there to unfold.
Asking what has this got to do with him? What power does he have to help in this task?
There were too many things in their minds but at the moment lay an infant
And in the meantime, they cherished the time with baby Jesus
Christmas is now over and the churches are now celebrating Ordinary Time. Yet, I find myself drawn to continue reflecting on the Nativity of Jesus. Yes, Jesus came this Christmas to be with me and everyone. His presence encourages me; I know I am not alone. Jesus is walking with me into the new year. He says, “stay close with me.”
I thought I was in a monologue
Arguing to myself about my thoughts and temptations
And habitually addressing Jesus as well, unconsciously
“Walk with me”, I hear Jesus interrupt
Just like he did with the disciples in Emmaus,
He keeps me company
And opened my eyes to realize
That while Mary saw and Joseph feared,
They both loved Him and touched Him with affection
From Him I suddenly felt the same care and compassion
To be with Jesus at the moment
Not in the perfection I need to be
Or in the heaven I seek to reach
But to talk to him and find him in my problems
In my struggles and in my troubles
Here comes Jesus whispering
“Forget about tomorrow
I just want to be with you now.”
“That’s all you need to be,
All I want from you at this moment is:
To stay with me and to walk with me.”
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RL is a Courage member who enjoys sharing his faith as a catechist in his parish. He loves music and uses it to his daily routine – to reflect, to be inspired or just to keep him upbeat.
The opinions and experiences expressed in each entry in the Reflections page belong solely to the original authors and do not necessarily reflect the view and policies of Courage Singapore. Some entries have been edited for length and clarity.