The Savior Has Been Born

On the plains of Bethlehem, the angels brought to the shepherds and to us a wonderful message of joy. “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 Christ and Lord.”

The message announced is not from one person to another, but emanating  from the heavens. The proclamation is meant to be heard by the beggar and the king, the child and the old woman, the poor and the rich.  The angels announced to the shepherds that it should be known to all people, in the east and the west, the north and the south. It shall ring forth and make joyful for all ages and it shall never cease, not even when the world shall keep its vigil, and the book of humanity will be closed, and then it will ring on in eternity: “A Savior has been born to you, who is Christ the Lord.”

 It is a salvation story that started in a lowly stable over two thousand years ago, with very few witnesses.  A lowly, but holy Virgin, a modest carpenter, and some unsuspecting shepherds.  Creation finally awakened from its slumber by the Light of the world dawning and drowning out its darkness. It is a story that still awakens us from our drowsiness, because we too live in the darkness and are constantly searching to be illuminated ourselves, for we know only the divine has the power to give such life. 

It all begins if you recall, in an out of the way place, in a lean-to fit only for the beasts of the fields.  A couple thrown together by God’s providence and their selfless acceptance of God’s grace.  The poverty of these two– staggering to our sensibilities, became the fruitful and abundant source of God’s grace that was to be the plan of salvation.  We too are allured by this mystery, not by anything we can bring, nor gifts we bear, but by the simple fact that we too are without anything really, all is a gift from God.  By God’s invitation we are now players in this eternal drama stripped of everything, and it is here in our poorness can we really hear the voice of the angels– “tidings of great joy”. But first, we must empty ourselves from our pride, bluster and arrogance. For God can only be born again in a fleshy vessel which is devoid of such things.

Hopefully, as willing characters in the story, we are hearkened back to our own homes, just as Joseph and Mary journeyed to theirs.  We are called back to account for ourselves, to make our presence known.  And just as Joseph and Mary ventured out with nothing, we come to know God most intimately in our emptiness.  The poverty that God wishes to be born into has nothing to do with material things which will ultimately lose their luster only after a short time. God wishes to be with us in the poverty of our homes and hearts where there is no pretense, no facade, no hiding. Only here can God lavish us with his graces and love. The poverty once seen as despicable is now brought to a level of sanctity.

This is why this day is so special, heaven has been lowered so that we may rise and touch the eternal Word made flesh, with all our faults and failures. Emmanuel has been born to us, and by this great gift, we have been born to eternal life.

Today we are especially reminded how poor we are. All  is a gift from God, and  surprisingly, it was shown first to us by a baby laying in a manger.

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