Our holiday celebrations often keep us indoors. In northern climates, this might be partly because the cold and snowy weather makes going outside a difficult and even unpleasant experience. We hurry from house to car and then into another warm house. In warm climates, the heat finds us scurrying between air conditioned buildings. But creation—including the weather— is a gift to be celebrated, not something simply to be controlled and altered. We lose our sense of wonder in nature when we become too absorbed in the structures of everyday life. Most of us have jobs and other responsibilities that keep us indoors. The people of the Bible lived much closer to the land than we do today. Navigating by the stars was something they did as a matter of course. Jesus’s parables reflect a deep knowledge of flocks, fields, and fishing. We can understand these stories better if we grow in our awareness of creation. Pope Francis, like his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, calls us to read God’s presence not only in our holy books but in the holiness of the world around us, plant and animal as well as human.
—from the book The Peace of Christmas: Quiet Reflections from Pope Francis
by Diane M. Houdek