By Lilla Marie Lottinger
(Columnists Note: Few Christians realize the graces available to us as we enter into the various mysteries of Christ’s life here on earth. Due to His hypostatic union [fully human, fully divine] – every moment of Christ’s life here on earth was both inside and outside of time. Therefore we are able to literally enter into these times of His life. Just as the Holy Mass is an actual reliving of Calvary, where we are called to actually find ourselves there; we can as well go to Bethlehem, or any other place where our Divine Savior trod.)
As I find myself in the little cave at Bethlehem, I am not only in awe of this great mystery of the Incarnation- God becoming man; but I feel so humbled, so frail, and very much relating with the “little drummer boy” in not having a lot to bring, other than myself… my frail self. In fact, I don’t even play a musical instrument. But what I do sense in my heart to bring is the great love and affection that I have for Him, for Mary.
As I approach His Sacred majesty, I feel I should stay back in reverence; and yet, everything in me longs to be close, to bow over the manger to kiss His face, His hands, His feet… to love Him, to thank Him for coming. And, so I do…. And there I rest in stillness, gazing upon Him as He gazes upon me. “Jesus, I love you!” I share with Him as tears stream down my eyes… “I love you!”
My heart is deeply saddened as I already know the ultimate fate that He must suffer in His humanity. And, again I say to Him, “Thank you!… Thank you for coming! Where would I be without you!… When you entered into the darkness of this world, you entered into the darkness of my heart, and brought into it the light of the Father’s love and grace… May you continue to enter into the dark rooms that surface in my heart.”
Then I find myself gazing upward toward the Heavenly Father, who is undoubtedly looking down upon us, and I say, “Thank you Father! For sending us your Son to set us free!” And, then toward Mary gesturing, “Thank you Mother! I love you!”
Mary, on the other side of the manger from me, proceeds to kiss Jesus tenderly and caress His face, with tears in her eyes… because she knows.. she knows that He is Love personified…He is truly the Savior who will be rejected by many, and ultimately give His life for us.
I rest for a while in the reality of this profound mystery before me, in the frail little way I am able; with great awareness of the Father’s loving presence shining down upon Jesus. I am very aware of the union of love between the Father and the Son; and the Holy Spirit which is sent forth to draw us into this mystery of communion as well.
I am aware of humble, chaste St. Joseph as Jesus’ earthly father, caring for His needs and formation along with Mary on the natural realm; but I am even more so aware of our Heavenly Father’s providential care being at the heart of Jesus’ whole life and mission.
From here my contemplation will branch off into the following two aspects which I plan to enter into interchangeably throughout the Christmas Season.
1). I find myself becoming one with Baby Jesus, opening myself to the Father’s eternal gaze of love and providential care for me; soaking in the truth of my own dignity and identity as a child of God; and also allowing Mary to hold, love, kiss, caress and nourish me as she does with baby Jesus; as she gazes into my eyes as such a perfect Mother. In this I bond with my Heavenly Father and Mother!
2) Mary invites me to hold Jesus… I love Him, caress Him, allow Him to rest His Heart on mine. I bond with not only my Savior, redeemer and Friend, but my Divine Lover and Bridegroom; as He invites me to know Him in this early stage of His life: this profound mystery of His Incarnation – “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us!”
I pray that we may all have the grace throughout this Christmas Season to enter deeply into the mystery of the Incarnation. I share personal reflection of my own experience of this mystery. But I encourage each of us to encounter the Divine Christ Child personally in our own hearts. Jesus became flesh in order that we could relate with Him in a deeply personal and meaningful way. And, He is begotten again at every Holy Mass during the Consecration of bread and wine. May we not miss out on all the graces available to us.
“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 the Lord.” (Lk 2:10-11)
(For Catholics the Christmas Octave is celebrated from Dec. 25-Jan 1st; each day is celebrated with great solemnity as though Christmas Day. The Christmas Season continues through till February 2 – the presentation of Jesus in the temple).