Christmas is here! The message awaited for millennia has arrived, and we find in Matthew the culmination of the dreams of all humanity, God has become flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Let us get to know The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, with the following reflections borrowed from the Saints.
The first thing that Jesus sanctified with His presence was a home in the Family of Nazareth. The course of human history is changed forever. God becomes Man, the Word is made flesh, Jesus Christ is born. The Prophets announced His arrival, the Virgin Mother carried Him in her womb with boundless love. John the Baptist prepared the way for His arrival. And now, we renew our celebration of the mystery of His birth, so that watching always in prayer, we may prepare our hearts to make room for our Messiah, our Lord and Savior. God is here, and this truth fills our lives with love, our hearts with joy and increases our faith in God.
Every Christmas is a new and special meeting with God, when we allow His light and grace to enter deeper into our soul. As we forget about ourselves for a moment, we turn our gaze upon the manger of Bethlehem. The holy Scriptures invite us: “Come and you will see.” Come and behold the marvel. The Nativity scene is a School of Love, where shepherds and kings, rich and poor, famous and obscure, all crowd around beside the manger. And we too, place ourselves in that spectacular scene. We admire Mary, Joseph and the Child; learning from the Son of God who has taken on our flesh. All the longings of our heart are satisfied by this child. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given.
On this day, the world no longer lives in darkness. Jesus is here, and all the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God. He has come to bring peace on earth to those of good will (Luke 2:14), to all who unite their wills to the holy will of God, and our hearts should be recollected in these moments because we realize we are children of God.
The Almighty God appears to us as a newborn child in a cave at Bethlehem. There is hardly anything more to be said: here is God as a Child. How often do we look into His eyes, which are so clear and luminous A Child smiles as we silently adore. He brings light to pierce our soul and scatter the darkness of sin, to penetrate our heart and set it on fire with His love. Look at the Child in the manger, St. Josemaría recommends, He is our Love. Look at Him, realizing that the whole thing is a mystery. A light to guide men’s lives. St John Chrysostom advises: The mystery will be a splendid lesson for us, much more convincing than any human reasoning.
All things were made through Him. Heaven and earth were created by this Child who lies in the manger. He laid the foundations of the universe and gave it its fullness. He who dwells in heaven is lying here on a bed of straw. How madly Jesus loves us! He fills all the world with His presence, yet He takes a body like our own, so we can cradle Him, who created us in our arms.
This is the great mystery Christmas presents to us. God, a man. God, a child. God with us. From the cradle at Bethlehem, Christ urges us to live a Christian Life to the full—a life of self-sacrifice, work and joy. We will never have genuine joy if we do not really try to imitate Jesus. Like Him, we must be humble. Do you see where God’s greatness is hidden—in a manger, in swaddling clothes, in a stable. The redemptive power of our lives can only work through humility.
This is the lesson of the Saints! We are like the shepherds: when called, left their flocks and humbly come to the crib. This we will remember often during these days as we approach the Child to kiss Him and adore Him. Poor for our sake, He lies in a manger. But we will give Him warmth; we will embrace Him affectionately. We need to speak intimately to the Child, to look at Him and listen. So much can be purified during these days when our acts of love are so fervent! Who could fail to return love to one who loves us so much?
Sincerely yours in Christ,
1 Ev.(C) (Luke 1:38)
2 St Ambrose, Expositio Evangelium secundum Lucam, 2, 1
3 Escriva, Christ is Passing By, 148
4 Ibid., 158
5 Ev. (C) (Luke 1:43)
11 St. Josemaria Escriva, Letter,2 February 1945, 27
14 St. Josemaria Escriva, Notícias VIII-55, p.12; 123