This is a syndicated post from Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse. [Read the original article...]
Christmas Eve 2013
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In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled…So all went to be enrolled…And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem…While there, the time came for Mary to have her child, and she gave birth to her first-born son.
The King of kings. I know I can be overwhelming, so today I surrender to you. I know I can be a bit scary, so today I come to you weak and defenseless. You are well aware I am infinite, but today I come to you small, easy to behold and to hold. You know I am mighty; but today, I make myself vulnerable to you.
“The grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us…” (Titus 2:11-14)
The Son’s birth is as revolutionary to our understanding of God as the Copernican revolution is to our understanding of the Sun.
Shift happened. And boy did it alter – jolt – our understanding of the Almighty and our relationship with Him.
Silent night. Yesterday, Pope Francis sent out the following message: “Christmas celebrations are often full of sound. It would be good for us to make room for silence, to hear the voice of Love.” Where do we hear the voice of love? In a whisper. How do we hear it? Intimately. In close proximity. Where? In the place we first met.
We find the Lord in a cave, where we first met. Like the first man, the Lord was born in a cave. But what Jesus presents inside the cave is what no man, ancient or modern, could ever do: He brings us God. Emmanuel.
The Lord was born in a time of relative stability. Finally, there was a government – an empire – that could enroll “all the world.” The population census was what prompted Joseph to set off from Nazareth for Bethlehem. As you can see, even the Romans had a hand in fulfilling Jewish prophecy: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2).
God Almighty chose a small town, a small family and a small frame. He made Earth even smaller by choosing to live in a cave.
How can this be? It is God’s equivalent to Copernicus’ revolution. The Lord made man’s head spin!
Shepherds completely oblivious. They had lots of work to do. There was no time to waste. Shepherds are hard working people.
This morning I ventured out to get my haircut at Supercuts. As I drove out there, I had this “awareness.” Today, December 24th, 2013, Christmas Eve, none of the roads were different; the cars driving by me were eerily similiar to those I had seen before. As I took my seat in Supercuts and waited to be called, I noticed there was nothing new, except for the hair stylist. While she was working on my hair, she asked me if any family members were going to be coming into town. I said no. There was a pause. She then asked me if I was going to get together with friends for the holidays. “I’ll try,” I said, “but I have to work today and tomorrow.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that.”, she said. “That’s awful.”
“It’s okay.”, I said, “I love what I do.”
Again, there was a pause. Finally, she asked:
“Do you have a family?” I replied, “No, I don’t.”
She was now done.
Now her problem wasn’t that she ran out of questions. The problem was that she never imagined she was speaking to a priest. I helped her in the end. I told her I hoped to see her at Church today or tomorrow. “What Church do you go to?” she asked.
“All Saints… I’m the priest.”
It’s not enough to peek our heads into the cave. The Lord invites us to throw ourselves in there and listen to Him; otherwise, we will continue doing what we have always done: Bark up the wrong tree; live for the wrong things; chase after the wrong dreams, etc.
“Love is patient, love is kind.” It is not flashy or dashy, but very simple and dignified. It does not boast; it whispers. It is neither pompous or arrogant, but meek and humble.
Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those of good will.
MERRY CHRISTMAS! (144)
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