I sit here ever so quietly with my dear dear Lord pondering so great a revelation, so perfect a love gift from God, as the marvel of the Incarnation. I wonder how the joy of such a marvel seems to have vanished in the noise of the world and in the hearts of its people.
Joy is at the heart of the way of Jesus. He came into the world on a high note of joy, and He left the world bestowing the sublime gift of joy.
The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.“1
Jesus said to them, “I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”2
Joy is different from happiness. It is never disconnected from sorrow, but always hidden within it. It offers us the freedom to move with our suffering into a new and deeper kind of joy, because we are not alone in it now—God is with us.
Emmanuel, God with us, is the heart of Christ filled to overflowing with the desire to love us, aflame with the fire to warm us, to give us a home, a sense of belonging, and a refuge in which we feel deeply safe. Emmanuel invites us to a whole new way of being, of loving, and of joy-filled living in spite of the pain. Let us respond to this gentle invitation by preparing our hearts to receive more and more of the life, light, and love contained in this gift of the simple coming of the Child. Such a Divine gift cannot help but call forth celebration.
What is our part in the preparation to receive this joyous gift? Let us humble ourselves and open more and more to the possibility and purity of Christ’s recreative movement in us. Let us prepare a place for Him, longing and waiting and watching for His birth in us. Let us intensify our desire to wait quietly and expectantly for Him with Mary, to humbly seek Him with the shepherds in our long dark night, to offer our precious gifts to Him with the wise men, and to behold Him with gentle awe in the manger of our hearts.
Thus, the Christmas gift, the transformation of our human nature into the likeness of the One who is given may be fulfilled, empowering us to live our ordinary lives with extraordinary love and surpassing joy.
In His all-compelling love then, a simple message yet ever so profound, from His heart through my heart to your heart.
Oh, Jesus, precious Shepherd What will You say to me this Christmas? What have You prepared for me at Your Nativity? Will the noise of temporal things silence the Heavenly Host, the angelic song of praise, the Infant cry of glory that bids me come, that longs to claim me, to rename me Chosen, Blessed, Beloved? Will the clutter, the glitter of the world, blind me? Will I fail to find You in lowliness in the crib? You, Holy Child of God, You, His Gift of unending birth, of everlasting joy, of peace on earth. Oh, Jesus, precious Shepherd, this Christmas Help me to find You. Enable me to hear You. Give me Your Gift. Be born anew each instant in the manger of my heart. BWS