In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (NAB, Jn 1:1-1)
Christmas is a special day. And it seems to me that my words are very trite and they cannot contain the magnitude of the significance of this Holy event. We might be surrounded by images of Santa, Grinches, Coke polar bears, the Peanuts Gang, pets with antlers, and even some hang Sponge Bob Square Pants ornaments from the trees. But through all of the glamour and comedy there lies a Sacred Mystery that is more profound than our senses can grasp. In fact, we might have to dig through all of the glitter to find the true Light.
God is the Divine Author of His plan, the Word made flesh. Some of us may have heard it over and over. Others may be contemplating it for the first time. It is one of those Sacred Mysteries of how God becomes Incarnate and is born as a little helpless baby.
How can one describe the Word? Painters through the ages have tried to capture the image of Jesus and writers have tried to explain Him. Recently I saw an action figure Jesus posted by a friend on face book. As I recall, even St. Thomas Aquinas, in trying to explain God in his Summa called his own efforts trash. There is no other word to compare. Everything is pale in comparison to all that He really is. No matter how much tinsel we try to slather on the tree, it is still too dull.
I try to grasp a portion of the true meaning of Christmas. I wait for that sacred moment that warms my heart but unfortunately in the midst of my own darkness it is usually just a small glimpse that flickers away as fast as it comes. I like to meditate on the Light. The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it (Jn 1:5). There is something about being in the Light that takes away fear. It also gives warmth, insight, and guidance. Some prefer to wake up slowly with the light because a big dose can be so bright that it can be blinding. We have light switch wars at my house as some like to illuminate all rooms (I’ve had glasses since I was 10 years old). Others like to sit by the glow of one small candle.
I remember one year going to a “Christmas shop” and being unable to find one single hanging decoration for the tree that had any resemblance of the nativity. I am sure that some would rather to hear about the Holiday Season and Hello Kitty décor than Christmas. But my own name means Christmas and I am a Christian. So I inevitably will rave about it.
Sometimes the revelation that speaks loudest is when I see an ornament and am reminded of the Madonna with Child; or when I hear a version of Ave Maria sung on the radio or at Church. Then for a brief fleeting moment there is joy and one small glimpse. I have shared that it is in desperation that I sought for God in my life. But in the process I was overcome with awe. I didn’t realize that it was the Word that had reached down to me. This happened long before I even thought about looking for Him. And if you don’t mind me saying it, He reaches down to each one of us. That is what this celebration is all about.
May your Christmas be filled with awe and God’s generous blessings.