I remember when my wife was pregnant with our son. The months leading up to his birth were so nerve wracking for me. She was obviously going through the physical changes and feelings, and dealing with the discomfort of being pregnant, but everything was a new experience for me as well. It was mentally taxing. Is she OK? Should she be experiencing this? Should she be feeling this way? Is the baby’s room good enough? Do we have everything we need? What is it going to be like when he is here?
There was so much anticipation. And then we got to his due date and there was still no movement. It was in the heat of an Indiana summer – the Fourth of July came, and nothing. Soon, he was two weeks late and the doctors had to induce. After a long labor, and much stress as a result, our son was born into this world.
He was born via Cesarean Section, and so my wife could not do much after his birth, and then she ended up getting an infection while in the hospital. And so, here I am in the hospital with a sick wife who just gave birth via surgery, and also a newborn son – a baby, of which I know nothing about. I was never around babies. Needless to say, I was scared. What? I’ve got to give him his first bath? I’ve got to give him his first feeding? What if he doesn’t eat? How do I even hold a baby? I thought to myself, who is the infant here – me or him?
But when I held him – all of that went away. I felt the unbelievable grace of God and the miracle of new life in my arms – and I just knew what to do… The love I immediately had for that boy came out of me from I’m not sure where, and the instincts of how to care for him took over. Any parent out there knows this feeling. And my son as well as your children are simply ordinary humans. Imagine how Mary felt two millennia ago.
Here she was, in an unfamiliar situation, in an unknown place, not even in a house – but in a barn. She had just given birth to her firstborn – but this was no ordinary child. She gave birth to God – to the Word incarnate, in the flesh. God as fully human, as an infant, totally dependent upon her and Joseph for survival. Mary literally had God, the truth, Heaven’s light – in her hands, cradling Him in her arms.
And I think that as much worry may have filled her and Joseph leading up to this moment – that went away immediately when they saw Him in the flesh. What an amazing thought as to how that must have felt knowing that God was right there, that they could hug Him, and kiss Him on His forehead!
What this means for humanity they could not comprehend at that time. Isaiah and others prophesized it, Angels of the Lord told them about it, but they could not comprehend what this meant. All they knew at the time was that they have this newborn in their midst, that He is special, that He is the Son of God, but He was still an infant, a human, who needed their care at that time.
They couldn’t comprehend the future and what this meant, but they knew what to do in the moment. They just knew.
And so here we are 2000 years later, and we still can’t comprehend it. It boggles my mind to think about the trueness of God, what He truly is, how He created the universe and life within it – from nothing. It is beyond me how His Son became human, yet how the He was also there in the beginning when the world was created.
And it totally blows my mind how God can create life – a baby – from just two cells. How He breathes life into that fertilized human egg that then grows and becomes, well, us.
But see He came to us, not only to save us through His sacrifice, but also show us the Truth – truth about who God is. And the truth is, God is all around us. He’s within us, in nature, and even though we often talk about God being of Heaven and sin being of the flesh and of the world, God is the world, He made the world, and today we celebrate Him becoming one of us, in the flesh.
And so what do we do now? We have this newborn baby in our arms again – not only the Christ child, but also a new beginning in our lives, this joy of Christmas bringing light to the dark year gone by. We have a newness to our soul, a newness to our faith with the Christmas Season, the newborn of Hope that engulfs us. So what do we do now?
Well, we do know what to do now, don’t we? All that craziness and anxiety and worry leading up to this day, preparing for our families to visit, for the Christmas Eve dinners and the celebrations, all the gifts and decorations. Leading up to this day, we get so caught up in that and we may ask ourselves – are we ready? Did I buy enough? Do we have enough food?
But yet all that busyness has now subsided into the silent night, holy night of Christmas. All is calm, all is bright, and we are filled with hope and the joy of those around us. We are once again flooded with the grace and mystery of God’s amazing miracle.
We have His Truth, His Love, and His Faith in us in our arms. We have His Hope before us and it lights our soul. Though we cannot comprehend what He truly is, we know that God is with us, and in us. He breathes life into us.
We know this truth and we know this light. And though we may not be able to comprehend the big picture and His grand plan, we know what to do, what we should do, in the here and now. It’s deep within us. Let’s simply take His light, His goodness, and His grace He gives us, and nurture it. Nurture it within us and those around us, and be His light, and be His hope to others in this world.
God Bless and Merry Christmas from my family to yours, and from all of us here at A Catholic Moment!
IS 52:7-10; PS 98; HEB 1:1-6; JN 1:1-18