Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve -- 2009

In a study and reflection on John 3:16, perhaps more recognized within the confines of a sports arena during the last decade or two, author and pastor, Max Lucado, penned these words: "At this point in history, the human being who best understands who God is and what he is doing is a teenage girl in a smelly stable."

On Christmas eve, when we find some quiet time to contemplate the "reason for the season," perhaps a few moments watching Mary can offer us a meaningful way of understanding the magnitude of the moment.

Surely the classic artwork does not picture for us the truly extraordinary venue in which this young girl gave birth to the Savior of humankind. We should try to separate our mental imagery from modern depictions. Imagine what most today would call a miserable place to be born for anyone let alone the Son of God! As Ignatius Loyola would say to us, try to imagine, to sense the smells of the stable -- far from the perfumery world we have come to know. Imagine the coldness of the place: did Joseph bring the animals closer to Mary and her newborn? Imagine the loneliness of the countryside: no one was immediately present but Mary and Joseph when the child Jesus entered the world. Imagine how grateful Mary must have felt when several shepherds came upon the most unusual site which they may not have understood at first.

To you women reading this blog, what do you think Mary was thinking during the first hours of her child's life on earth? To you men reading these words, how do you think Joseph felt having to bring his wife into such a setting to give birth?

Christmas Day can have genuine significance for you if you let your heart and mind wander with these two questions? And, men and women readers, step into each other's thoughts for a few moments, try to think what Mary and Joseph must have felt and thought.