A Sense of Wonder

The story of Christ’s birth speaks to us about the mysterious ways of God. The Triune God acts in ways that we do not always expect! His ways are truly wonder-filled. For centuries, the Ancient Israelites had expected the Messiah. The prophets, especially Isaiah and Jeremiah, called the people to readiness and openness to God’s actions. Their message provided the people with indications about the coming Messiah.

Yet, when ‘the fullness of time had come’ (Gal. 4:4), the Messiah did not arrive as a conquering hero in a golden chariot with pomp and splendour. He was not robed in expensive clothing. He did not appear in the capital city.

Throngs of adoring followers did not accompany him.

When the Messiah finally arrived, he came first as a baby. He was born to a young girl who was not formally married. The event occurred in the simple village of Bethlehem.

He was sheltered in a place reserved for animals because the inn was full. There, isuch simple circumstances, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth…” (Jn.1: 14).

This is the mysterious way of God!

Through the Christmas story, Our Lord reveals that God acts in ways that we do not always expect.

We cannot shape the mighty acts of God to our limited understanding. The Triune God is greater than our limited perceptions of Him. He acts in mysterious and wondrous ways to draw us to Him and to one another in love.

{An Open Heart}

The persons who are involved in the story of Christ’s birth were all quite different. Mary and Joseph were humble travellers seeking a place of shelter. The shepherds were simple men of the land tending their flocks. The wise men were wealthy and aristocratic foreigners wandering in a strange land. Yet, each of them shared a common characteristic. They opened their hearts to the actions of the Lord who mysteriously led them to the village of Bethlehem. Each of them permitted God to act in their lives. Mary and Joseph were willing to change their whole life to nurture and protect the child Jesus. The shepherds were willing to hear the words of the angels. The wise men were willing to follow the star. We remember them to this day because they opened their hearts and trusted in the Lord.

{From the Church Fathers}

Besides the offering at the Divine Liturgy we have another altar which is the altar of the poor. You can find this altar everywhere, even in alleys, and streets.

To this altar we are called to bring our offering, a holy sacrifice to God. Herein lies our priestly office, as we, like the officiating priest in the Liturgy, invoke the Spirit on the altar of the poor, not by words of mouth, but by deeds that speak louder than words.

The Spirit hovers above the altar of the poor. The Lord’s Body is laid thereupon, as there is no wound in this world that He does not bear in His Body. There is no blood that is shed which He does not share. In this sense when we give to the poor we give unto Him who descends to us from heaven. ~ St. John Chrysostom

{Meditation: Why Did He Come?}

There are some people who find it hard to believe in the miracles of Jesus. They say, “How can one believe that Jesus walked on water, or fed the five thousand, or was born of a virgin, or raised the dead and was Himself raised from the dead? How can one believe all this?”

Yet, the real difficulty does not all lie with the miracles. It lies in the Christmas message of the Incarnation. The really staggering Christian claim is that Jesus of Nazareth was and is God made man, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, fully human and fully divine. If Jesus was the same Person as the Eternal Word, through Whom the world was created, then it is not strange—not strange at all—that He walked on water, and was born of a virgin, and raised the dead. If He was truly the Son of God, it would be more strange and startling if He should die and not rise again!

God’s coming to us at Christmas is in itself an unfathomable mystery, but it is a mystery that makes sense of everything else that the New Testament contains. For He who was born was not another Socrates or Plato or Einstein, but the Eternal Son of God. If you begin by denying that Jesus is the Son of God, then you will have a problem with all of the miracles.

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