Grace to you and Merry Christmas!
As I look at the Infant Jesus in the manger, what does the scene say to me? What sentiments does it stir in my heart?
First, it stirs within me a profound sentiment of gratitude. Gratitude to God, who has given us himself in Christ for love and for our salvation. God doesn’t show us the way; he leads us in the way. Christ is the way. God promised. God did. To God be the glory. Amen.
Second, I am grateful that God chose to reveal himself to us and to become like us (save sin) and by so doing, grant us the grace to become, by adoption and participation, like him. Christmas is the celebration of the truth that God became man so we can become his sons and daughters, with the right to call him, “Abba, Father” (Rm 8:15). For this, we are and should be eternally grateful.
Third, that God could be born in the smelly manger, and roommate with goats and sheep, is for me another message for Christmas. A time to see in the nativity set, the most incredible testimony of humility, a necessary step to glory. “Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. … Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name….” (Phil 2:5-9). The way up to glory is a humble route.
Fourth, the event we celebrate at Christmas ushers in a new birth, a new life and a new covenant. In the prophecies of Old, God promised to redeem his people. The scene of the Infant Jesus holds together the promises of the Old Testament and ushers in the fulfillment, which is the New. I see in the nativity set, the meeting and redemption plus reconciliation of cultures, of peoples—from the east and the west, north and south; meeting of people across the spectrum—the rich and the poor, the wise and the shepherds regarded as common people, saints and sinners; congregation of the heavenly hosts and the animals. All creation waiting in hope (see Romans 8:23), come under one fold. Christmas speaks to me of the unity of all in Christ, and the common vocation of all God’s sons and daughters.
Fifth, I see in the manger the greatest gift to us—the Lord Jesus Christ. The manger speaks to me of gift time, sharing time. God gave us the gift of his Son. We are to give back to the Infant Jesus the gift of ourselves. We equally hurry in haste to share the Good News we have received. Share the news. Don’t hold back. Share the joy. By the grace of Christmas, we are inspired to bless others with gifts. Christmas gifts flow from the heart of gratitude that we have received, from the fullness of Christ, the best gift ever.
Finally, the manger speaks to me about how God’s kingdom grows from the little, the unnoticed, the insignificant to the great multitude, to whom Jesus Christ is the Lord. Christmas resonates with the brilliant message that where we are born isn’t as important as who we are—God’s sons and daughters. Celebrate the grace that you are the apple of God’s eye (see Zachariah 2:8, Psalm 17:8) for love of whom Jesus was born.
May the grace of the Infant Jesus flow to us and our families this Christmas. Amen
Once again, Merry Christmas and blessings for success in the New Year. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.