As we journey toward the holiest of nights, it is often easy to overlook the miraculous. Wonder and reverence are often relegated to the past. Yet, the reality of the Incarnation still shines out over the glare of commercialism, nationalism, secularism, and individualism.
God, in humble submission, peered into our eyes from a manger so that our enslavement to sin and death would end. God with us; divine life so that we can have life. It is not a myth, a feel-good story or abstract theology. A child born unto Mary, a child born unto us, was laid in a manger. “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High.” In him the Alpha and Omega are forever one, and “His Kingdom will know no end.” Jesus is the purest truth ever known.
Let us not be flippant with the purity of the Christmas story. Hold each moment of Christmas in blessed contemplation. While the rest of the world moves from one social celebration to the next, or laments the supposed death of the Church, I encourage you to hold the gift of His birth in your hands. Gather around and tell the story of Bethlehem as a prayer. Gather, gather together, and recount the birth of the holy child Jesus. Yes, God is with us and eternally present.
“Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” Approach the manger, look inside and peer into the eyes of God. It is in gazing on the face of Jesus that we awaken the holy in our lives. Like the shepherds let us share Him with the world, “glorifying and praising God for all we have heard and seen.”
Christ is about to be born into your life, and because of Christmas we will have life eternal. This is the reason we use the Greek formula of Gabriel’s greeting to Mary “chaĩre – rejoice!” Rejoice, our Savior is born. Rejoice, our new relationship with God is born. Rejoice, for this is the Good News.
Peer into the manger and it is there we find goodness, peace, hope, love and life.
My prayers for a peaceful and holy Christmas.
The Rt. Rev. Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez
XVI Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania