This Gospel opens with everyone in motion, traveling to the city of their origin. But as it continues we realize that all are really coming to witness the greatest event since the creation of the world. The Creator himself has come to be among his creation, his people, you and me.
But why did he come the way he did? A babe lying in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes. The manger is a symbol of nourishment. It is a place to hold food. Now it holds the food of life for all mankind. The swaddling clothes are the trappings of humanity, but even more they are Christ saying to us “I am here to wrap my arms around you; to protect you from harm: to Love you.”
Who came that first night, two thousand years ago? It was the shepherds. It wasn’t the rich, the rulers, the Spiritual leaders of the people. No. It was the poor, the unclean, and the hard working, lowly shepherds. They represent us, in our brokenness, in our sinfulness, with all our faults. We, like the shepherds are probably fearful when God calls us to him. But we need not fear. Christ accepts us as we are, for to him we are friends. So come near. Come to the stable and see your God. As the angels said “Do not be afraid.” Be at peace and come as you are. Don’t put on airs, but come and know that Jesus truly Loves you.
But you say, this is only a tiny infant. How can this be our God? Just look around you. See the multitude of heavenly angels who have come to pay homage, to worship, and to witness to you that this is truly The Son of God the Second Person of the Trinity, up close and personal. The Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled, without a doubt. But you only have to open your eyes and believe what you are seeing to know that this child is the Messiah.
Well if it is our God, what will we bring to him as a gift? That is the great paradox of this event. He asks nothing of us other than that we come and be with him. It is he who will provide the gifts. He brings with him Faith. A Faith that there is a God and he loves us. He brings with him Hope. A Hope that we can be with him for all eternity. And most of all he brings with him Love. A love so great that he will give up all the comforts of heaven to live among us, to teach us and ultimately to die for us so that we might be with him forever.
So, come! Come to see the infant, God among us. But stop a minute and ask yourself: What will I do after I see him? Will you keep the good news to yourself, or like the shepherds, will you witness to the world, will you tell anyone who would listen that Christ our God has come, that he is here now, and that, above all else, he loves us.
May God Bless You and Merry Christmas,