This morning, Christmas, I am meditating on the birth of Christ, kneeling next to Mary, a new mother, perhaps 15 or 16 years old, cold, under a blanket, in the dark, as she looks at the miracle before her: God made flesh, Emmanuel, the Everlasting One with Us Forever. I was 15 years old when I entered the convent. 15 is young to become a mother or a nun. In my prayer, Mary called me over and I knelt beside her and let Jesus curl his hand around my finger. Here is a moving passage from a book I received for Christmas, “The Life in Christ” by Nicholas Cabasilas. It encapsulates this mystery of love in our Christmas prayer:
God is not content to remain where he is and call unto him the bond-slave he loves so dearly, but he descends and seeks for him himself. He, the Almighty, stoops to the lowliness of our poverty. He comes himself, declares his love for us, and it seems almost that he is asking a favor of us. When we refuse he does not withdraw, he is not wounded by our rejection; rebuffed, he waits at the door, does all to show his abiding love; he takes on himself all these humiliations and dies.
When we are older we look back at things we wish we had or hadn’t done. We feel bad things hadn’t turned out differently. We might feel that time is running out. We are no longer 15 or 16 with our life ahead of us. This Christmas Day God has come seeking for me and for you. It is our poverty that attracts him. He is not put off by our fascination with the things that glitter in this world. He is here only to love and to die of love if that is what it takes to win our love. I think of a man asking a woman to marry him. “Will you wed me?” God asks me and you. Today is the day to think about your answer, or why it is taking so long to answer the only sensible answer: Yes!
May this year be the time when we decide to take on the mind and heart of Christ: Love. To Love Him. To Love in self-giving compassion those near and far. To Respect Ourselves and the Dignity we have been given as the Son of God took on flesh and lived among us.