“They drew their circles, deliberately small in size, to keep us out. But then a surprise: I drew my circle, big and wide, so we'd all live together side by side.”

Nouns are interesting, especially nouns that represent people in relationship. Nouns like mom, dad, grandma, poppa, sister, brother, husband, wife, children. There is an emotional warmth that accompanies these words, a warmth originating from a history of loving and caring. Other nouns may also be in this category, such as nurse, doctor, teacher, coach, friend, mentor, representing those people who have a positive impact in our lives.

But there are other nouns people employ in conversations, words that do not uniformly warm the heart or calm the mind – words such as homosexuals, lesbians, the homeless, immigrants, refugees, Muslims, Bear fans, etc. People who use these words derisively have drawn their circles very small with the intention of dismissing God's children, keeping them outside the circle of their love. They don't seem to care or realize that today we are celebrating “the Word of God made flesh!” Christmas is the feast wherein the Divine Word becomes human and so ennobles every human being who was, is and will be. God is now enfleshed into our physical world of time and space. By taking a human body God makes holy our world and blesses our bodies, the physical bodies of each of us – no exceptions!

The circle drawn by God and by the Baby of Bethlehem has no limit. It includes the very people some of us, including our politicians and religious leaders, demean and dismiss. The circle of which we speak is really the circle of love. God's love for us, as Christmas wonderfully proves, is without limit. The Word of God becomes flesh. Jesus the Christ is born a child to join and raise up our humanness.

What is our response to God's invitation to us to love, to Jesus' command to love each other as Jesus loves us? How big do we draw our circle of love? Is it abysmally small or amazingly large? Is it petite=sized or triple X? Whom do we include? Whom do we exclude? As we grow in age, do we also grow in extending our love to those others we haven't loved much in the past? If not, the failure is not in others; it is in us, in our minds and hearts.

This Feast of Christmas invites us to grow in love, to draw the most humungous=sized circle we can. In today's Christmas Liturgy we eat the Bread and drink the Cup that is Christ. We are fed at his Table time and time again. Truly, we are family! Yes, “They drew their circles, deliberately small in size, to keep us out. But then a surprise! I drew my circle big and wide, so we'd all live together side by side.”

A blessed Christmas to you and to those you love – and may the number of those we love grow by leaps and bounds this coming year as our circle enlarges beyond our wildest dreams! AMEN!

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