So They Went in Haste and Found Mary and Joseph, and the Infant Lying in the Manger.
Monday, December 21, 2009
By Father Mark Mary

At the birth of every child there is a certain awe of the gift of a new life. Every parent realizes that this new life is something beyond them, beyond their own making. Behind the eyes of the newborn there is the mysterious presence of a new person. The gift of a new life has begun.

With Jesus, something new truly has begun. God is present among us in a new way. He has become a man for our salvation. He has come to make all things right, for one day everything will find its fulfillment in the Kingdom of God. In Jesus, we find the fullness of the kingdom of God which has taken root in the world. We look forward to its final consummation at the end of time, but, in the present, God has drawn near to us in the coming of Christ. Now is the time of fulfillment, the kingdom of God is present and we experience His Lordship over us now.

At the Annunciation, Gabriel told Mary in reference to Elizabeths conception in her old age that nothing will be impossible for God. And Mary said, Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word. Christmas invites us to share in the deep faith of Mary. We can share in her faith and trust because God is with us, and we can say with Mary, Let it be done according to your word.

Christmas is an invitation to a deeper faith in God, not in the world which cannot save us. Jesus was born in a stable and was soon a refugee in Egypt. The shepherds returned to their flocks without anything changing in their worldly life. But because He is with us and acting in a new and profound way, we can say with Mary Let it be done according to your word.

In becoming a child, we see that God has become small and makes a gift of Himself to us. He comes in a most non-threatening way and invites us to receive Him as simply as we would receive a child. Pope Benedict in his Advent reflections said what true joy consist in, it is feeling that our personal and community existence has been visited and filled by a great mystery, the mystery of Gods love.

Everyone would like to see the problems in their life just go away. But on a deeper level we want to know that we are not alone in our difficulties. We want to know that God is with us and that He loves us. We want to know that one day we will see a kingdom of justice and peace, that there is a coming fulfillment for all things. Our joy in the midst of suffering is that God is near us, and we turn to Him in the crib in silent adoration.

This Christmas we should pause in meditation before the manger scene. It is right that artists and composers clothe the scene in such beauty and splendor, and it is truly a testimony to the faith of previous generations. Let the beauty of such works of art inspire in you the joy that is proper to the season. Marvel at the simplicity and the humility of God in becoming one of us. He was born in a stable, yet the radiant holiness and beauty of the nativity manifests the great and tender love of God and of His holy Mother.

God has not abandoned us; He has visited His people, and the truth is that He still visits His people throughout the year. He speaks to us in the scriptures and daily events of our life. He meets us in the most profound way in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist and confession. He is present to us in our family and friends, and speaks to us through the created world. The powerful season of Advent and Christmas remind us that we are not alone, that God loves us and is guiding us to Himself.




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