As we begin the Christmas season, we contemplate in earnest that manger scene. The One who was all light emerged from the darkness of the womb. He who was perfect Love entered a world in which, in just a few short months, his parents had to flee their home in order to keep him from being slaughtered. The omnipotent, immortal Son of God condescended to become . . . a vulnerable, needy infant.
But it was all part of God’s plan. And as such, nothing had been overlooked. All the humiliation, the hunger, the anxiety, the pain, the fear, and the longing . . . the purpose of all of it would be evident in time.
For every family that gathers this time of year, intent on achieving some Norman Rockwell-like tableau, there is one that is feeling vulnerable, fragile, and lost. To us, the Babe in the manger is a sign of hope, not because he made the angels sing – but because, long after the strains of their music wafted away on the night winds, his cries could still be heard. Night after night, Mary arose to tend to his needs, and Joseph protected and provided for them both.
Are you feeling vulnerable this Christmas? Do you need someone to tend to your needs, if only so you can tend to others? Do you long for the protection and provision of one who is stronger than you, who can guide you through the darkness?
Invite the Holy Family into your home this Christmas.
Mother Mary, I need your sweetness and grace in my life.
Cover me with your mantle, and teach me the ways of gentleness and trust.
St. Joseph, protector of families, grant me courage.
Gather my family close to your heart, and chase every evil away.
Holy Christ Child, come sit on my lap and let me sing to you.
When all the world is darkness, let me see heaven’s light in your eyes.
Holy Family, sign of God’s redeeming love, pray for us.
That every fearful, painful step will lead at last . . . to home.