"And the light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." - John 1:5
So the Octave of Christmas has ended, yet we find ourselves continuing to ponder the very strange happenings surrounding Our Savior Jesus, a beautiful baby, sinless and perfect, born to die.
Left to us is the manifestion on Epiphany. One such manifestation of God Incarnate, come to save us.
There is a peculiar connection between the Crib and Cross. Lowly suffering and sacrifice take center stage only to bring comfort and hope.
The other night I had a chance to relax with some friends and we talked about the comfort and hope that come from the weakness we see in Our Lord's arrival. How this expectation of Messiah coming so humbly is so particularly attractive. Somewhat like His conquering destruction on the Cross but perhaps with less apprehension on our part.
My comrade spoke of his difficulty leading up to Our Lord's Resurrection. Lent being a season of major penance, and the exhausting Triduum preparations. It leaves him without adequate reflection upon Easter's coming. In fact, too tired to carry out the mandatory 50 days of joyous contemplation and living.
We both agreed this is just not the case at Christmas. It's the same formula of course. A penitential season followed by a season of feasting but these days it seems plays a little differently.
Maybe it's the state that the world finds itself in? Or perhaps our age? Or maybe something else. But we seem to find solace in Our Lord's agitation of the great of His day and His exalting the lowly conditions. Further, this solace is seemingly more apparent at Christmas than Easter.
The more one thinks deeply about Christmas, the more one becomes convinced of victory in Eternity. The more one becomes convinced about victory in Eternity, the less the world seems to matter.
Unsurprisingly, this is the mind of the Church as well:
"Now all this fortitude, and the whole of this victory, came from the Crib of the Infant Jesus: therefore it is that we find St. Thomas standing near it, in company with the Protomartyr Stephen. Any example of humility, and of what the world calls poverty and weakness, which had been less eloquent than this of the mystery of God made a little Child, would have been insufficient to teach man what real power is. Up to that time, man had no other idea of power than that which the sword can give, or of greatness than that which comes with riches, or of joy than such as triumph brings: but when God came into this world, and showed himself weak and poor and persecuted, everything was changed. Men were found who loved the lowly Crib of Jesus, with all its humiliations, better than the whole world besides: and from this mystery of the weakness of an Infant God they imbibed a greatness of soul which even the world could not help admiring."
(Excerpt - The Liturgical Year - St. Thomas of Canterbury - Dec. 29 -emphasis mine)
Far from tooting my own horn or that of my friend's. It is really a strange thing to fall in love with this Jesus whom came conquering as he did. He made it obvious for those paying attention just to seemingly confound the rest.
He came for us. Born to die.
"No one can become blessed, unless he ascends above his very self, not by an ascent with the body, but with the heart." - Saint Bonaventure, The Journey of the Mind Into God