The Joy of Sharing JoyMy daughter Aña is now a paramedic on an emergency response unit in Springfield, Massachusetts. She's come a long way from that Christmas many years ago when this photo was taken. I love the photo with a father's love for his daughter; that goes without saying. But there's another reason I love this photo. I have always felt that Aña's excitement on discovering the doll that Santa brought her exemplified the joy appropriate to Christmas, the joy that Simeon expresses in Luke's gospel, the joy that we go into debt every year in our fond and foolish attempt to both simulate and celebrate.
In this photograph, Aña is excited, not because she has a new toy, but because she has a new friend. Look at her face. That is how we Christians should feel when the mystery of the Incarnation finally dawns on us. Christianity exists to unwrap this breathtakingly beautiful gift, the gift of Christ present in our world and the Spirit of Christ "who dwells in our hearts," God's great gift to humanity.
The excitement appropriate to the recognition of this gift should be contagious, as it is here. Notice that Aña is not looking at her new doll; she is looking at those she loves. Aña's joy is the joy of sharing her joy. It is our duty and privilege to do likewise with the gift of faith.
Have a wonderful Christmas.