Nativity of the Lord (December 25, 2017)
Today we celebrate the wondrous love of God for us: the Word made flesh, dwelling among us. St. Francis de Sales offers us some reflections as we stand in adoration before the Infant in the manger.
“We are always wanting this and that, and although we have our sweet Jesus resting on our heart we are not satisfied; and yet this is all we can possibly need and desire. One thing alone is necessary—to be near him.
Now tell me, my dear friend, you know, don't you, that at the birth of Our Lord the shepherds heard the angelic and divine songs of heavenly beings; this is what the scriptures tell us.
But nowhere does it say that Our Lady and St. Joseph, who were closest to the child, heard the angels' voices or saw the marvelous radiance; on the contrary, instead of hearing the angels sing, they heard the child crying, and by the wretched light of some poor lantern they saw the eyes of this divine boy full of tears and saw him chilled by the cold.
Now tell me frankly, would you not rather have been in the dark stable which was full of the baby's crying, rather than with the shepherds, ravished with joy and gladness by sweet heavenly music and the beauty of this marvelous light?” (Letter to St. Jane #23)
In another letter, he writes:
“It is good for you to be close to the manger where the Savior of our soul teaches us so many virtues by his silence. How much he tells us by saying nothing! Our own hearts should be kindled by his little heart panting with love for us. See how lovingly he has written your name in the depths of his divine heart as he lies on the straw for your sake, longing lovingly for your progress; no sigh goes up to his Father in which you do not share, no thought that does not include your happiness. Indeed, my friend, let us not return whence we came; let us stay at our Savior's feet, saying with the heavenly Bride: 'I have found him whom my soul loves, I hold him and I will not let him go.’” (Letter to a Nun #103)
As we make our way to the manger today, let us hold our heart in our hands as a gift to the Word made flesh. He will take it and fill it with the fullness of his love. Then he will return it to us as his gift, and ask us to share his love with each person around us.
May our God be praised this Christmas day!