Humanity receives the gift of Christmas from Mary. She holds a Child in her arms, she offers us the Mystery that the Spirit of God worked in her: the incarnation of God’s Son. God’s unforgettable dream became a reality in her womb during a nine-month period. God became a Child.
The Mother presents the fruit of her womb, the mystery of God in the flesh of a Child: God made absolutely accessible gift, absolutely loveable, and absolutely mild; God made gift for everyone.
Something new happened in a Child. God was learning to be human and the human person was learning to be God. And the mystery of the Child Jesus is a mystery called to be extended in all of us. In the flesh of Jesus, the human person learns what God’s plan is for our humanity, for each of us.
At Christmas we do not simply remember a historical fact that happened a long time ago. What we do is a special memory of the reality that the Christian is called to live each day.
Through the gift of the Spirit, Christ is not only Emmanuel, God-with-us, but also God-in-us. Through the gift of the Spirit, Christ continually comes to us, is continually being born in us because the Spirit is conforming us to him to be incarnation of God in this world, to be God’s presence, thanks to our fragile humanity that the Spirit is conforming to Christ.
At Christmas not only do we evoke a historical fact, but we confess with our lives the gift God is offering to everyone: our flesh is called to offer Christ, to be his presence in the cold night of the shepherds or in the restless search of the Magi from the East. Not only our words, but also our way of speaking, of being and acting, if they respond to the gift of the Spirit, have to be the presence of the incarnate Christ’s love in our humanity and offered for everyone.
Bethlehem is the unheard of folly of God who wants to see, feel, speak like human beings…, so that one day human beings may see, feel and speak like God.
Bethlehem is a sensation. God wants to have us see how the most grandiose thing happens in the small things, in simplicity, in the unnoticed through pompousness and the auspicious of the world.
Bethlehem invites us to convert our way of looking at and considering reality, to convert our criteria for evaluating what surrounds us, to convert our attitudes about each of the actions we must face: he wants Jesus to be born in everyone, to make himself presence for everyone. There is nothing in our lives that is not called to be Christmas, because all our time is called to be Sacred.
To be Christmas! We need few things to be Christmas! A manger and some straw welcomes the glory of God made Child.
But the Expected of all time came in an unusual way. The Expected often continues to come in bewildering ways. There are times when the bewildering goes beyond us to the point of not seeing the Gift that we desire. “Lord, we would say: when did that happen?” “When did you do it, or when did you not do it, to one of these the least of my brothers and sisters.” (Matthew 25:37ff) the Child of Bethlehem will say to us.
We often stop cradling the Child of Bethlehem in our brothers or sister who scandalize us with their brokenness, who oppress us with their sadness, who bother us with their joy, who sadden us with their success, who irritate us with their personality, who disturb us with their neglectfulness, who embarrass us with their shortcomings and needs….
If we were able to lovingly cradle them in all occasions…! Perhaps our brothers and sisters would find medicine for their brokenness, joy for their sadness, strength to rise again after falling, incentive for having a more balanced personality, ardor for abandoning their neglect, richness for filling their deficiencies and needs. Perhaps their joys would be our joys, and their successes would be ours.
At Bethlehem Mary offers us her Son whose Spirit empowers our humanity conformed to Christ to make his goodness, beauty and truth present in the midst of the world, but this will only become a reality when we learn to welcome him and cradle him in our brothers and sisters who being near to us with their deficiencies and needs are also the presence of the indigent Christ.
Christmas: mystery of Incarnate Love, mystery of God’s Love joined with humanity that makes us exclaim: O loving Exchange of God who becomes human in the person of Jesus so that we can participate in your divinity!
Maria Dolores Rodríguez asc