Let us adore baby Jesus in the manger. A baby easily wins the heart and love of anyone with human feelings, but how much more does this baby win our heart and love. Let us kneel before baby Jesus and thank him for coming to save us. Thank baby Jesus now in your own words.
Imagine, Jesus, the Son of God and our Saviour born in a stable and placed in a manger instead of in a cot! When God comes he usually comes in humility, silently and peacefully, without causing a great disturbance. God’s humble coming in Jesus would not surprise us if we knew God better. But of course we will never know God sufficiently to understand. So no matter how much we try to understand God becoming human in Jesus we will not be able to comprehend, it will remain a mystery. The best reaction is that of the shepherds, simply to praise God. Let us praise God now in our own words.
As we look on baby Jesus we think of the mystery of God’s love for us. Why did God who is almighty and all-powerful become small and powerless as a baby? Quite simply, out of love for us. God became human so that we might become more like God. Jesus, if you had not come as a human like us, we might have had difficulty in believing that God really loved us. But now we know for sure. John the Evangelist says, “This is the revelation of God’s love for us, that God sent his only Son into the world that we might have life through him”. Let us thank God for revealing his love for us in Jesus, that he who is so big and powerful became so small and weak for us, that he became one of us, to help us be more like him, to have life through him.
As we see baby Jesus in the manger we reflect on God’s way being a way of gentleness and tenderness. God’s way is not one of violence but gentleness. There is a lack of goodness and love in the world but God is tender and loving. As we look on baby Jesus in the manger we see that he is the answer to today’s problems. Instead of violence, in baby Jesus in the manger we see gentleness. Instead of hatred, in baby Jesus in the manger we see tenderness. Instead of selfishness, in baby Jesus in the manger we see love for us. Let us ask baby Jesus to help us to be gentle, tender and loving with those around us as he was in the manger.
Jesus in the manger, you give us hope. In the darkness of our world, your light has shone. Your coming in gentleness encourages us to hold out the hand of reconciliation, to help one another, to work for peace. We remember the message of the angels; “Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace”. Baby Jesus, help us to be people of peace and to spread peace everywhere we go. Let us pray now for peace.
Today is a beautiful day as we think about God’s love for us. Who would ever imagine, in his/her wildest dreams, that God who made the entire universe and holds it all together would love us so much that he would become one of us in his Son, Jesus? God’s love for us is, we could say, crazy and makes no sense. We cannot properly understand or comprehend God’s love doing this for us because it is out of this world. Today we are very happy to celebrate what is out of this world, God’s love for us, becoming part of this world when Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
What does this say about us, about you? It means that God thinks you are out of this world although part of this world! The world might put you down, others might put you down, you might even put yourself down but that is not how God looks on you. God wants to lift you up to see yourself out of this world! Again and again we see Jesus taking people by the hand and helping them up. He took the little girl by the hand that everyone thought was dead and she got up (Matt 9:25; Mark 5:41-42; Luke 8:54-55), he took Peter’s mother-in-law by the hand and lifted her up and her fever left her (Mark 1:31), he took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village and healed him. (Mark 8:22-25) This is God’s plan for you also. Jesus is able to take you by the hand and lift you up out of your world to his world. Jesus, the light of God, wants to enlighten you, all of us, to show us what God thinks of us which is really all that matters.
This is the gift of Christmas. There is really only one gift at Christmas that has any value worth talking about, the gift God gives us in Christ. The gift at Christmas for all of us is Jesus. Jesus will not force himself into your life, it is up to you to be open and receive Jesus. There was no room for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in the inn the first Christmas (Luke 2:6). Are you making room for Jesus, Mary, Joseph in the inn of your heart this Christmas? Jesus can take you by the hand and lift you up out of your world to his world. Will you open your heart more to Jesus to allow him in to lift you up to who God plans you to be? Will you make room in the inn of your heart for Jesus this Christmas and every day?
Wishing you a Happy Christmas and a bright New year 2021.
Fr Thomas Reddy SJ