DECEMBER 20, 2020
BETHLEHEM, EXPECTATIONS, PREPARATIONS
Luke 2:8-11, 16
We know the nativity story from only two brief sources: The Book of Luke and the Book of Matthew. The first tells us of the inn and the shepherds; the second of the star of Bethlehem and the three wise men. In both, the story of Jesus’ birth is told with exquisite beauty and simplicity. Nowhere else in literature is the marriage of miracle and innocence so felicitously performed.
The nativity, perhaps more than any other Biblical scene, is a profoundly visual experience. Only the Crucifix transcends it in its emotional impact. But the traditional Creche scene remains a symbol of blessedness that has acquired a language and life of its own through the ages.
It is for this that we approach Christmas with a sense of hope, a feeling that something wonderful not only has happened, but will happen again this year in us and in others. It is for this that we make advent wreaths and light the advent candles. It is for this that we make interior preparation as well as exterior ones.
Michel Quoist, in the book Christ Is Alive!, expresses it very beautifully: “Jesus Christ did not choose to use heaven as a podium from which to give man directions for the proper use and development of creation; and he did not choose to hand over a detailed set of instructions. Instead, he came down and entered into creation itself, into flesh and human life, in order to give roots and sap to the plant which is to bear the fruit of eternity.”
Isn’t this an exciting thought. It is for this we celebrate Christmas time.
Prayer: Our Father, we are coming to Christmas. It has become for many of us just a tradition, just a reenacting of an old story. Forgive us. It has the possibility of being a celebration of dynamic dimensions, but so much depends on us. You came, you stayed, you are with us. May we hear that loud and clear this Christmas. Amen.
This devotion was prepared many years ago by my mother, Irene Swaim. I have enjoyed sharing it with you.