We hear of Christmas by candlelight in Kiev;
we think on the borrowed cave, rude shelter in which to bear life.
We hear of twins reunited – thank God! – with their family before Christmas.
We cannot help wonder how such small lives can bear such high drama;
we look into the manger, see the infant nestled in a food trough, while somewhere out of sight Herod feasts, unaware yet of the threat.
We know the complications of this life: Covid and cancer, crashes and climate change and corruption; we have heard even that love is but the prelude to grief – oh, but that it is glorious while it lasts.
We see his mother Mary bow her head to kiss her child.
Somewhere to the east, a magus finds another sign, another kiss yet to come, and shivers.
Joseph looks to, and away, back again at his wife and his son. He doesn’t know where to look. This is a wild introduction to married life. He wonders how he will sustain, maintain a family on dreams.
We wonder what we might have done to fulfill the angels’ promise: peace on earth, goodwill, joy to the world.
Gracious One, we see your answer, swaddled in cloth and tender flesh, one with us.
You called him Jesus, because he would save us from our sins, ourselves, if we will but bend our way to Bethlehem, find the humblest child of God, and prostrate ourselves before them.
He is the way, the truth, the life: the way that leads to rock that does not pulverize but protects, the crag, the shelter; the truth of a baby’s cry, uncompromising and full of the needs of all humankind, answered by tenderness that gives of itself to feed the other; the life which will defeat even death, so full it is of the grace of God, God’s love for life, our lives, born anew even today.
Here is joy for the world.