Christmas Cycle

One Christmas Eve, after placing a small figure of baby Jesus in its resin manger at our house, my then 4 or 5-year-old nephew asked, “But… is he… alive?”  So much was said in his look of perplexity and disbelief – If Christmas is Jesus’s birthday, then where is he?  Shouldn’t he be growing up by now?  Also… if he was born 2000 years ago… then, maybe he should be dead – right?  Then why do we act like he’s a little newborn baby?  What is this weirdness???

Nativity scene, Christmas, Jesus in manger

Of course, there is something to be said about the Eternal Now, as well as our preparation for the Second Coming of the Lord – but that something is said in other places, I’m sure, with more scholarly expertise.  What I want to reflect upon in this post is the beauty and power of the newness of our celebrations – every single year. Continue reading

Child of the Poor

–Lyrics by Scott Soper, 1994

Helpless and hungry, lowly, afraid,

wrapped in the chill of midwinter,

comes now among us, born into poverty’s embrace:

new life for the world.

Who is this who lives with the lowly,

sharing their sorrows, knowing their hunger?

This is Christ

revealed to the world in the eyes of a child,

a child of the poor.

Who is the stranger, here in our midst,

looking for shelter among us?

Who is the outcast?

Who do we see amid the poor, the children of God?

Who is this

who lives with the lowly, sharing their sorrows,

knowing their hunger?

This is Christ revealed

to the world in the eyes of a child,

a child of the poor.

Bring all the thirsty, all who seek peace;

bring those with nothing to offer;

strengthen the feeble, say to the frightened heart,

“Fear not:

here is your God.”

a child of the poor.

 

And he is among us now.  Do we ignore him?  Do we pass him by?  The stranger… the outcast… the hungry… Who are we dismissing?  Christ.

Let us also remember that the Christ child was born into what we would consider miserable circumstances – but he was not miserable because he was loved.  Divine love doesn’t make life easier, doesn’t make all the hardships go away – Divine love makes life joyful.   There is nothing undignified about being poor or homeless.  God Himself chose to be born into such a state so that He could show us the power and richness of love.  If, however, we laud the Christ child, the baby in the manger and all the delights of Christmas, and then forget that the manger was a feeding trough in which the poor child slept – and if we then ignore the plight of impoverished children and their families everywhere in the world… or down the street… then we have no right to have celebrated Christmas.   If we do not see Christ among us, then we have not love.  And if we have not love, then we will never know true joy.