By Karen Mortier
2,000 years ago, God the Father sent a gift of love to this world. This precious gift was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. Thus it was that the powerlessness of God was manifested in that infant child, His son, whom He sent to demonstrate to the world the powerfulness of His love.
If ever there was an opportunity for God to enact His plan with a majestic flourish, it was at Jesus’ birth. But God did not presume upon humanity when He stepped in to redeem it. There was no pretence in the arrival of the Son of God. God chose to identify in the humblest way with those made in His image, it was the humblest, yet it drew an angelic host.The Christmas Story begins with the obedience of Mary to the will of God. Mary’s conversation with the angel showed her humility and anxiety to ascertain God’s will. She was amazed that as a virgin she could conceive and bear a son; but the angel assured her that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and the Power of the Most High would overshadow her. Mary acknowledges the divine will and surrenders herself completely to God’s plan. How many of us stop to thank Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother for giving us Jesus. What a magnificent surrender, what a gift of priceless worth she gave us!
The first Christmas was a stark simple scene – no bed for Mary and Joseph to lay the child in; yet, this rustic scene marked the greatest most momentous event in the history of mankind. As unbelievable as it may seem, the one with authority to redeem the world spends his first nights in a manger, among simple people like the shepherds. Born in the ancient equivalent of a tent village, Jesus arrives to fulfil God’s promise.
The birthday is the birthday of Jesus, a tiny surprising package that came to humanity wrapped in rags. How many of us remember; how many of us spare a thought for whose birthday it is anyway? The shepherds realised that Jesus was an amazing gift because the angel had announced His birth to them. They went to worship and adore Him. The star showed the way to the Magi and they too went to worship and adore Him bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
What gifts do we bring today? Would we go to a birthday party, any birthday without a gift? Yet, how easy it is for us to go to church on Christmas Day bearing no gifts – do we even stop to surrender to the Infant Jesus the gift of our hearts? Do we stop to remember whose birthday it is? No! How many of us can say with proud conviction that we even wished Him ‘happy birthday Baby Jesus?’
In a world ravaged with disasters, people living on the edge of starvation, lying homeless, lonely and afraid on the streets, strangled with drugs and alcohol, child abuse and depravation, this Blessed Infant came to proclaim the Powerfulness of Love, to transform the turmoil of our lives into the tranquillity of love.
The bright lights, the trees, the Yule Logs, the giving of gifts are all part of Christmas but let us always remember that Christ is the reason for this Season. He was the gift, the ultimate gift our Heavenly Father gave us so generously, so lovingly. He gave His only Son so that we may have life. True unending life! Let us always be reminded to bring joy to the faces of little ones, brothers and sisters orphaned and abandoned, destitute and homeless, neglected and alone. That will indeed be a true celebration of His birthday. Let us never forget what Christmas is truly about.