God With Us (Christmas Meditation) …

Because when all is said and done,
the last word is Immanuel — God With Us.
— Isaiah 8:10, The Message

The Risk of Birth

This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war and hate,
And a nova lighting the sky to warn
That time runs out and the sun burns late.

That was no time for a child to be born
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome,
Honour and truth were trampled by scorn.
Yet here did the Saviour make his home.
When is the time for love to be born?

The inn is full on the planet Earth,
And by greed and pride the sky is torn –
Yet love still takes the risk of birth.
— Madeleine L’Engle from And It Was Good: Reflections on Beginnings (Genesis Trilogy)

If Christ Had Become Incarnate Now

If Christ had become incarnate now and were a thirty-year-old man today, he would be here in the cathedral and we wouldn’t know him from the rest of you – a thirty-year-old man, a peasant from Nazareth, here in the cathedral like any peasant from our countryside. The Son of God made flesh would be here and we wouldn’t know him – one completely like us.

How shameful to think that perhaps pagans, people with no faith in Christ, may be better than we and nearer to God’s reign. Remember how Christ received the pagan centurion and told him, “I’ll go and cure your servant”? The centurion, full of humility and confidence, said, “No. Lord, I am not worthy that you go there. Just say the word and my servant will be cured.” Christ marveled, says the gospel, and he said, “Truly, I have not found such faith in Israel.”

I say: Christ will also say of this church: outside the limits of Catholicism perhaps there is more faith, more holiness. So we must not extinguish the Spirit. The Spirit is not the monopoly of a movement, of a hierarchy, or priesthood, or religious congregation. The Spirit is free, and he wants men and women, wherever they are, to realize their vocation to find Christ, who became flesh to save all human flesh. Yes, to save all, dear brothers and sisters. I know that some people come to the cathedral who have even lost the faith and are non-Christians. Let them be welcome! And if this message is saying something to them, I ask them to reflect in their inner consciousness, for, like Christ, I can tell them: the kingdom of God is not far from you, God’s kingdom is within your heart. Seek it, and you will find it.

The Bible has a very meaningful expression: The Spirit makes all things new. We are those who grow old. And we want everyone made to our aged pattern. The Spirit is never old, the Spirit is always young.
— Oscar Romero from Goodness and Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas

For Jesus, there are no countries to be conquered, no ideologies to be imposed, no people to be dominated. There are only children, women and men to be loved.

— Henri Nouwen from Creative Ministry

Prayer of Thanksgiving For God’s Presence

Spirit God, you know our needs
our wounds
our hurts
our fears
even before we can form them
into words of prayer.
You are patient with us.
You are protective of us.
You are present with us
until such time that we are able
to ask for what we need.
Thank you, Spirit God,
for your healing taking place within
before we are even aware
of how broken we have become.
— Susan Gregg-Schroeder from In the Shadow of God’s Wings

See also:

Flor de pascua - 2013 * Euphorbia pulcherrima

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