Maria Elena Gonzalez Galvan was born in Mexico City, where she studied interior design and social work. She entered the Congregation of the Religious of the Incarnate Word at the age of 24 and when she was newly professed was sent on mission to Kenya among the Pökot tribe. She worked in missionary animation and with young people in community apostolic works. She has done graduate studies in theology and later obtained the Diploma of Expert in Religious Life. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in missiology at the Intercontinental University in Mexico City.
In December, there is a magic that makes our hearts beat differently. We experience a joy not felt at any other time of the year, and it touches the most sensitive fibers of our being.
Thinking about that night that split history in two, one feels wrapped in a mystery that leaves us speechless. A dark night, under the stars, and especially one that announced the advent of the Son of God.
That night, in a small stable, a beautiful young married couple, tired from the journey, received, with immense joy, the arrival of their firstborn who would come to fill their little house at Nazareth with joy and hope. But it would also be the coming of God's closeness to all humanity.
Jesus, the Incarnate Word, found no better way to become human than by entering through a family. And John knew that when he proclaimed that "God so loved the world that he gave his Son" — it was the Father's greatest act of love for humankind, and he wanted to be sure that his only son would be welcomed with love.
Joseph and Mary would be that family that would receive him because love was the center of the family of Nazareth.
When I was a little girl, we enjoyed Christmas Eve as a family. I believe that is where the meaning and beauty of Christmas is discovered — in family. Together, we spent hours contemplating the Nativity scene that reminded us that God had become human in that little baby in Mary's arms. We prayed, shared, laughed and listened to songs that reminded us of the events in the grotto of Bethlehem.
I experienced great joy when I entered religious life and realized that Christmas was still the feast of family. We prepare Advent with care and dedication, organize ourselves to live it in the best possible way, and let ourselves be carried by the liturgy. As we light each candle of the Advent wreath, we prepare our hearts to welcome love incarnate.
Christmas is a feast of love and family, a feast of peace and humility, of light and hope.
We are the family of the incarnate word! We enjoy being together, and each member gives her gifts to make this night special because we celebrate the love of God incarnate. The most beautiful thing is that this is contagious in our apostolic works.
Yes, December is the opportunity to contemplate, live and announce that the Word of God became flesh in the heart of a family.
We’re delighted to share with you this blog from the monthly feature “The Life” courtesy of our friends at Global Sisters Report. This month, The Life panelists reflected on the question: Does your congregation have any special or unusual favorite Christmas customs or New Year traditions? CLICK HERE to read more blogs from The Life series, GSR’s monthly feature about the unique, challenging, and very specific lives of women religious around the world.
Image above: Sister Ma. del Socorro González of the Congregation of the Religious of the Incarnate Word proclaims the First Reading at the community's retreat house in Tlalpan, México. (Courtesy of Malena Galvan Gonzalez)