That night was, by all accounts a cold night and people were seeking shelter. Everyone is uprooted like you, making the arduous journey from Nazareth over rough terrain through unsafe lands to make your way back to the place of your ancestors. You must be counted in a census required by the occupying soldiers of the Roman Empire. You try to get just a little farther, though darkness and cold is falling, to get to Bethlehem. Arriving late, there is no place left to stay. You are frustrated because you want to protect and provide a safe night for your wife. You are wondering where this is going: is that a contraction that you just felt, here in the middle of nowhere? Is it time for this baby? Am I ready?
Arriving late, there is no place left to stay. You are frustrated because you want to protect and provide a safe night for your wife. You are wondering where this is going: is that a contraction that you just felt, here in the middle of nowhere? Is it time for this baby? Am I ready?
The air of the cave is damp and full of the smells of the nearby animals. Seems like an unlikely way for God’s plan to unfold, from our perspective today. There in that cave nobody knew exactly what was happening, only that it was miraculous. The light, the peace, the angels and shepherds. Something remarkable is underway.
He will gather together the nations from the two groups who encounter him: those who are looking for something (only God knows what) who daily risk the chance of not recognizing him even when he stands in front of them, and those who are not looking for him at all. At Jesus’ time there wasn’t a group of faithful who embraced his birth, nobody celebrated. Nobody knew it was happening, any more than they knew that the Incarnation of Jesus had already taken place nine months before when Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that the child would be great and holy, and would be given the throne of David, his father, a Kingdom with no end. “How can this be…?”
The story continues to unfold today. Jesus still comes into this same world where only he knows our potential for goodness and peace. He will come to those who don’t know him, he will come to those who are not looking for him at all. He will break into the noise of our world in silence, and he will bring about change. He will continue to touch souls, bring them back to God, and bring to his loving embrace all those who know nothing of him at all. He will bring peace.
Since we are a part of the story still unfolding, we have a role in this plan, a real, concrete role. Something is lost if you do not do something about it. The fact of this role does not depend on your doubts or even in how unlikely this seems, or how unworthy you might feel. Jesus chooses you Today, he becomes you, he begins the possibility of living Communion with you, and calling you to be the fullness of your created being as a person made in his image. He is love, he loves you.
Enter into this mystery of life and our being called together to act in his love. May this great Feast of love and mercy touch your hearts and make you like him, may our world together know his joy, and his peace.
God bless you, and merry Christmas!