Sunday, December 25, 2011
Keeping the Sabbath #5
Last night, I was coerced into sleeping at my parents' house, even though I hadn't packed for an overnight stay. Because I had to lector at Christmas morning Mass at my church, this morning found me waking up way too early and driving home. It was still dark as I made the trip, with just a tinge of light on the horizon.
Knowing that the rest of the day would be crazy, I took those quiet moments to steal a little bit of prayer. The dark of early day made me think about Bethlehem 2000 years ago. Christ had been born, and I wonder how long St. Joseph and Mary got to share in the quiet moments of being a Family of three. I imagine it wasn't long before the innkeeper came around to check on the couple he hastily found a place for during the night, or maybe the stableboy came to care for the animals at the break of day. We know of course that the Holy Family was later visited by shepherds and magi. But what was it like for the Blessed Mother and her husband, gathered around the manger, adoring their God come to earth during that Bethlehem dawn?
At Mass, my pastor Fr. Tom reflected on why the Messiah would come as a helpless baby. Instead of citing Old Testament prophecies, or quoting the intelligence of Church fathers, he kept it very simple. He said that babies love and are meant to be loved. Our Christ was no different. He came as an infant so that the very first impression we would have of Emmanuel would be that of a helpless babe, who desires our love and doesn't judge.
So, I imagine that as the sun rose over that new baby, his mom and foster dad we looking in awe, and adoration, at Love. Pure Love. Light came into the stable, and into their hearts, and the same can happen for all of mankind.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." ~John 1:1-5