“For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests” - Isaiah 9:6
Merry Christmas! Christ the King is born today and we have now received into our world the loving savior as a child. The all powerful God has become the most vulnerable of beings. We have been infinitely blessed and shown the love of God for humanity through Jesus Christ. In this newborn babe our only hope for salvation is found!
As a child I remember the joys of listening to Christmas songs and hymns while decorating our family tree on December 24th, a tradition that continues to this very day. My favorite of these songs was always a lesser known song called “Welcome to Our World”, a song I strongly encourage you to listen to and meditate upon at some point today. In particular, the fourth verse has recently struck me as being central to the mystery of Christ’s birth.
“Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born”
It was not until I had held my friends’ newborn baby last summer that this line held meaning to me. Holding that beautiful little girl in my arms and realizing that within that most delicate of beings was an incredible future left me in awe. I was equally afraid of accidentally hurting this small child as I was in awe of everything that I knew she could become.
From there I could envision Mary and Joseph in that stable going through those same emotions. Of course they had foreknowledge of who this child was from the angels as well as ideas of who He would become because of the prophets. But to them, this was their fragile baby who was born in a manger. His perfect face was contentedly asleep as they gazed upon Him with joyous wonder. They could not have known of the great sacrifice that He would have to bear in the future. They could not have imagined the glory of the Cross and the Resurrection. All they knew was that they had the Son of God under their care and protection and that they loved Jesus more than anything else in the world.
So today, as we celebrate this central mystery of our faith, let us ponder upon the incredible beauty of the Incarnation. The Word of God came into the world to share in our humanity, not as a grown man but as a baby boy. This baby boy would one day give up his life to redeem all of us from our sinfulness. And then finally, this baby boy would rise from the dead and ascend into Heaven. Ahead of this baby there is so much to come, but today He is still just a baby. And so let us celebrate this most joyous of occasions singing joyfully all of our hymns and carols in honor of Jesus Christ, the child in the manger.
Let us pray,
Loving Father, thank you so much for the gift of your Incarnation. There is no greater gift than the gift of your Son living amongst us. Today, as we celebrate this solemnity, receive our joy and our praise in thanksgiving for all that you have given to us. Let the love of Christ that we encounter today shine throughout our lives for all of eternity.
This reflection was written by Kevin Effron
Kevin Effron is a first year Master of Divinity student at the University of Notre Dame. He is working at Verso Ministries this year as his ministry placement for his M.Div. and is the proud creator and organizer of Prepare the Way. Kevin hopes that you find this retreat as spiritually fruitful to meditate upon as he did while helping to put it all together.