Nativity - Dec 25


25 December 2012: the Nativity of the Lord

At the outset let me express my sincere and prayerful wishes of the Nativity of the Lord. May the promises of hope, joy, peace, love of his birth be fulfilled in each of us now and always.
it happened during the carol service. A young lad dressed like a Santa Claus and accompanied us. When the carols are sung he would dance and entertain the household and finally would distribute sweets to all. It so happened that in a house he was dancing very well. A little child who was looking at the Santa Claus was smiling and trying to imitate the steps. When we were about to leave the Santa Claus asked for a glass of water. The mother of the house extended a glass. The boy removed his Santa mask to drink water. As soon as he removed the mask, the little child, who was smiling and dancing started crying and went to hide behind its mother. The mask made him laugh. The unmasking made him cry. It happens in our relationships too. People tend to like us or we tend to like them not for what they are but for the masks they were. The humble birth of Jesus brings to us the face of God. In Jesus there was no mask. That is why people were afraid to take him in – in their inn and in their hearts.

If I were to summarize the Christmas I will say, ‘today God imprinted his footsteps amidst our midst’.

It was a snow Evening in Ireland. In a countryside a mistress of the house who was sipping her hot evening tea heard her calling bell rung. He looked through the peephole and there seemed to have nobody. She returned to her tea. Again she heard the door bell. She opened to see who was there. No one was there. She came out to see whether anybody was playing around. She saw a little boy and a little girl leaning against the wall. Looking at them she could sense that they were very poor. She asked them, ‘what do you want?’ The little boy said, ‘we want some old newspapers’. The lady asked, ‘why?’ The boy replied, ‘it is very cold and snowing. If we have newspapers we would put inside our dresses and shoes and we would warm ourselves’. The lady took them in and made them sit in the sofa. What the boy said was true that the newspaper that the boy had in his slippers already was wet and yielding. The lady brought for them tea. Taking the tea in his little hands, the boy asked the lady, ‘Madam, are you rich?’ The lady was wonderstruck, ‘Why? Why are you asking that?’ The boy replied, ‘the cup and the saucer are in the same color. My mother used to tell me that only in the houses of the rich people it will be so’. The lady was moved by the reply. She rushed to bring them some dresses and shoes of her own children. After sending the little boy and the little girl out the lady came to the sofa where they were sitting. She took the cup and saucer in hand and observed for the first time that they were of the same color. She thought how she failed to realize her own richness. More often than not she was grumbling over what was lacking in her. And she never seemed to have realized the true worth of her. Under the sofa she saw the wet footprints of that little boy and girl. She preserved those wet newspaper footprints that made her realize how rich she was.

The footprints of a little baby 2000 years ago in Bethlehem remind us this too, ‘how rich we are!’ Saint Paul writes to the Corinthian Church, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich” (2 Cor 8:9). The footprints of Jesus assure us of his rootedness in our human realities. To the people who walked in darkness and did not know to find the way Isaiah proclaimed the feet of the Lord who would guide them. “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news” (Isaiah 52:7). Not only at the birth but also at his life and ministry Jesus was leaving the footprints. ‘A woman caught in adultery falls on his feet’ (Lk 7:38). Looking at the abundance of fish the disciples fall on his feet (Mk 5:22). John the Baptist tells that he is not worthy to touch the sandals of Jesus (Jn 1:27). The leader of the synagogue falls on Jesus and pleads for a miracle (Mk 5:33). Zachariah in his song praises God telling that, ‘a dawn comes from heaven’ (Lk 1:79). Towards the end of his life Jesus washes the feet of the disciples and commands them to wash one another’s feet (Jn 13:14).

Jesus marked his footprints today. It shows us his presence with us. Let us ask today, ‘how many people have left their footprints in the shore of our life? Let us be grateful to them. Let us leave a footprint in the lives of others. Christmas teaches us to get rooted in our lives. Only rootedness of a tree makes the openness possible. Let us get rooted in life – in its fragility, splendor, joy and pain. The footprints of Jesus smashed all kinds of divisions and alienations – sacred and secular, male and female, rich and poor, heaven and earth’. Let us raise up to that oneness.

He smiles our smiles.
He weeps our tears.
He is God Immanuel.
He is God with us.
He is now.
He is here.
Let us keep his footprints alive.

Amen.
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Sent by Sojan, c.s.c.