Merry Christmas dear brothers & sisters in Christ! It is my heartfelt prayer before the Father for each of you that this Christmas season will draw you more deeply into the furnace of divine love that is the Most Blessed Trinity!
In prayer, I try to kneel at the manger and gaze upon the child Jesus. The Holy Spirit wants to bring us there, God is drawing us to what is truly present to us in the mystery we celebrate on December 25th, and indeed, for the whole Christmas season in the Church: the grace of Bethlehem. What is this grace?
At the heart of this grace is God’s infinite love reaching out to you and me with ever greater fervor that we might gaze on the face of the Christ child and be emptied of all pride, vanity, envy, anger, hatred and all that is not of God. This child, this perfect sinless baby that we gaze upon in the Spirit is the same Jesus who gazed upon us from the Cross. God who is outside of space and time stepped into time and the darkest depths of suffering so that humanity might once again know God’s divine love in an all-consuming way.
Jesus is the Father’s gift to a fallen world, the Father’s perfect rescue mission incarnate. His Son is our hope, and the hope of mankind, because He shows us the Father’s love perfectly and gives each and every person who will come to Him, the ability to become a son or daughter of our heavenly Father. Jesus tells us, “I am the light of the world and whoever walks behind me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” In the face of the child Jesus, the light of the world shone forth like never before…can you see it?
In His light, we are found to be loved profoundly. The light of His gaze of love upon us sets us free, day in and day out and ultimately one day; forever. We have a choice to make. We either continue to seek His presence, His gaze of love, or relegate ourselves to being content with nice ideas and a faith in the back-pocket approach that misses out on the thrill of love that overflows the heart that experientially rejoices in God’s presence in the reciprocal unconditional life of self-giving love that God draws us into. The grace of Bethlehem is being drawn anew into the life of Emmanuel, God with us, a life of delightful self-sacrificial love that is in step with the rhythm of God’s own heart beating for you and me in the manger.
Merry Christmas & God bless you!