Reflection for Christmas 2019
The annual celebration of the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ is such a great event that keeps the end of every calendar bubbling with freshness. “The Word became flesh and lived among us, and we saw His glory, the glory that He has from the Father as the only son of the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14). Our celebration today, with its glamour and excitement, is a testimony of this ‘taste’ of Jesus’ glory we have experienced but yearns for more... All the messianic prophecy, and our advent celebration, now disappear into this one joy that ‘God-is-with-us.’
Whom we Celebrate
This is a mystery but a reality in our eyes! It summons us to silence that we might behold his presence within us and break forth with joy, for He comes to comfort and redeem His people (cf. Is 52:9). God who is outside of time and above all time, today has become the Master of our time, ‘The Beginning’ of everything that has ‘Being’, everything that exists. “Not one thing came into being except through Him” (Jn 1:3). Thus, whatever has value for life flows from Christ Jesus. Today we joyfully celebrate because He who is the source of life is now among us. “What has come into being in him was life, life that was the light of men” (Jn 1:4). What a supra-abundance of life we have in Jesus. God has given ‘His final Word’ in Jesus Christ (Cf. Heb 1:1-6).
At Bethlehem, in the manger, we see Baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes (Lk 2:7). The cold dark and silent place had no beauty for humans but reserved its comfort for animals. But there lay the King, almost having no space in humanity. Mary and Joseph welcomed the Baby with awe and admiration as Angels broke the silence of the night with joyful acclamation. While the Angels appeared to the shepherds, the Magi went to the glamorous palace of Herod. The proud and ambitious Herod had no place for Jesus, just like the busy and flushing Inns at Bethlehem. The shepherd followed the path given by the faith-laden angelic message to pay homage (Lk 2: 15-20), while the Magi, with lots of common sense, followed the insight given in nature to pay homage (Mt 2: 1-12).
‘Bethlehem’, the city of David, was the least among the clans of Judea (Mt 2:6). Mary described herself as the lowly handmaid of the Lord (cf. Lk 1:38). Joseph was popular for being a mere carpenter (Mt 13:55). The simple birth of Jesus was the greatest and sanctifying moment in human history. And the simple hearts welcomed Him. Those truly celebrate and make room for Jesus as He comes must be humble. He comes anew but in humble hearts.
Today as we bend in silence and gaze on the crib, we contemplate the lowly place where Jesus Christ chose to be born. And let our hearts be so simple, available, and containing no beauty of its own except the beauty of the glory of Jesus within it.
Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
Ss Peter & Paul Catholic Church,
Wednesday 25th December, 2019.