There is something so extraordinary about the birth of a new born baby. Any mother knows the flood of love that engulfs her entire being when she first holds her baby, gazing tenderly down upon the helpless bundle before her. She has a love so pure and complete it has no conditions, no limitations, and holds no bounds. This baby brings with it the hope of a certain future filled with times of great joy and happiness – a first smile, a first word, a first step. In these moments, mere mortals get a glimpse the divine.
Imagine Mary cradling the Baby Jesus lovingly in her arms, supporting His little head with the crook of her elbow. How sweet He must have been with His little hands and tiny fingernails, His bright eyes, delicate nose and His baby fine golden curls gracing His holy head. It is no wonder Mary kept all these beautiful things in her heart. But Mary got more than just a glimpse of the divine. She beheld God made man through the miracle of the Incarnation. And it is in this Newborn Baby King that we can find hope. The hope of salvation and eternal life.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states,
“Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit.” 1817
“The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men’s activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps men from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity.” 1818
So, if you are feeling very discouraged and abandoned with the state of affairs in our church, country and world lately, remember this tiny little Baby born in a stable, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger, because there was no room in the inn, holds the key to your happiness. The angel of the Lord appearing to the lowly shepherds some two thousand years ago echoed the very same message,
“Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a Savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.” Luke 2:10-11
For Christians there are no other saviors for us other than the Baby King born of Mary. While God can sometimes use unlikely people to help spread his message, there is no cleric, politician, media personality, court case, organization or movement that we should put our full faith and complete trust in. And although things seem to be rather dire as we look out at the world around us, we know how this story ends. Mary, the gentle and loving mother who gave birth and nurtured the Savior of the world, will ultimately crush the head of the serpent.
So, this Christmas season be buoyed up by unfailing hope, because the birth of the Baby Jesus really means Emmanuel (God with us) and that sweet little new born baby will lead you to a certain peace and happiness in the new year. In his 2022 Christmas message, Archbishop Carlo Mario Viganò also suggests,
“…offering Him your heart as a mystical manger in which He can rest, as a throne in which He sits and reigns first and foremost over you, your families, and your community. May your actions and your words make the blessed Face of the Lord shine forth, so that all the peoples of the earth may convert to Him, bend their knees to Him in adoration, and restore to Him the royal crown that the Revolution snatched from Him.”
Wishing you and yours a most blessed Christmas season!