I’ve always loved how the Christ-child in the nativity scene is usually depicted with his arms outstretched, as if reaching out to the world.
The birth of Jesus – God becoming man – is the decisive Divine intervention in human history.
And yet, there is a paradox of humility and apparent weakness in the Christmas story. For, the all-powerful God did not enter into human affairs with power, and majesty and glory but with the defenceless love of a helpless baby.
Whether one sees the crib in a beautiful gothic cathedral or a country parish church, a busy shopping street or in a hospital corridor, it gives us the same simple – but powerful – message: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life” (John 3: 16).
The Jewish people – the first to hear the Word of God – longed for the Messiah who would lead them and set them free.
But, in the coming of Christ God has taught us that salvation comes from the freedom of being His sons and daughters.
It is a time to know that God is present in the midst of all thoughts…”
For those who look for signs and wonders, the coming of God as a child in a dusty outpost of the Roman Empire sounds like a disappointment indeed. But, it challenges us to change our notions about power and prestige. In the incarnation, God contrasts what we think of power and transforms the dynamic to show us that true power rests not in ostentatiousness but in humility.
That’s why poor people were – and are – always the quickest to understand the message and invitation that God sets before us in the coming of Christ.
Christmas is a time to rest, to reflect and to recollect. It is a time to be thankful, and it is a time to share with others. It is a time of sadness for loved ones who are no longer present, and a time of longing for what might have been.
It is a time to know that God is present in the midst of all thoughts, all feelings, all cares, all joys, all hopes, all sorrows and all despairs.
It is a time to know anew that God is with us.
It is also a special time to draw near to the Church-child in the manger and mangier – devour God’s love.
Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack’d anything.
‘A guest,’ I answer’d, ‘worthy to be here:’
Love said, ‘You shall be he.’
“I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on Thee.
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?
‘Truth, Lord; but I have marr’d them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.’
‘And know you not,’ says Love, ‘Who bore the blame?’
‘My dear, then I will serve.’ ‘
‘You must sit down,’ says Love, ‘and taste my meat.’
So I did sit and eat.
– (George Herbert).
Allow yourself to be nourished by God – happy Christmas.