There is no choice. There is no other way. At this season of the year the only way I can reach God is through the birth of His Son, Jesus.
Whenever I've been writing for this blog at the back of my mind have been the opening words of the Letter to the Hebrews,
"At many moments in the past and by various means, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets,"
(Hebrews 1. 1)
Over the past years I have come to recognise many and varied prophetic moments when God has been speaking to me -many of them fanciful and bizarre. These have been moments of grace, full of insight. I have attempted to respond to what God has been saying to me.
The Letter to the Hebrews continues,
"In our time, the final days, he spoke to us in the person of His Son."
I have celebrated many a memorable Christmas when I've felt close to God -those of my childhood, those in large communities during the years of my Dominican formation as a priest, those as pastor of several parishes. Each in different ways has quickened and inspired my spirit. I cherish them all. On a few occasions there has been a Christmas of sad bewilderment when I've mourned the death of a member of my family. Such a variety of ways in which God has been speaking to me at Christmas. It has been up to me to discern how He expects me to reach Him this year.
What, then, stands out for me as something that I would want to share with you?
I think of the time I was making the rounds of the General Hospital in Grenada during the Christmas season. The lights in the maternity ward were subdued. There, in a corner, sat a father and mother silently gazing at their newly born son, lying in a hospital crib. It was a spectacle of love, awe and thanksgiving. I approached with diffidence, not wanting to disturb the magic of the moment. Behold, this family tableau was one of the most moving experience of my life.
Here I saw the beauty of Bethlehem -Joseph and Mary speechless as they looked down upon Jesus, lying in the manger. How great must have been their love, wonder, thanksgiving. Jesus was, literally, an adorable child.
And then I made my presence known to the father and mother -dear friends of mine. My arms encircling them in a loving embrace. Words of congratulation mingled with joyful laughter. And then I gently kissed the brow of their baby boy. Even now, as I write this posting, I tremble with emotion.
My thoughts return to Bethlehem. How would I have responded if I had been there on that Holy Night? Just as I did in the maternity ward, with hugs and kisses, laughter and congratulations. And of course I would have kissed the brow of the baby Jesus.
What a wonderful way to reach God...My way -letting my impulses to love gush forth upon the Tableau of my friends' family -holy in its own right -and, in so doing, reach out to the Tableau of the Holy Family -there in my heart, though not physically, present to me.
Peter and Isidore wish our readers Every Blessing
Christmastide and the New Year
In a fortnight's time Isidore will reflect on meeting God as he made an omelette.