By Sem. Keith R. Buenaventura
Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord
A starry sky filled with darkness and silence of night always depicts our traditional Nativity scene. Not only out of fidelity to the Gospel accounts, but this also has its symbolic value. There are times in our lives when we have experienced this darkness of night. Yet even then, God does not abandon us. He is Emmanuel, who chooses to be always with us. In the midst of our dark past, Jesus came to answer crucial questions about the meaning of our life. Who am I? Where do I come from? Why was I born at this time in history? Why do I love? Why do I suffer? Why will I die? It was to answer these questions that God became man. His closeness brings light where there is darkness and shows the way to those dwelling in the shadow of suffering.
At Christmas we place the image of the Infant Jesus wrapped with swaddling clothes in the manger. It is the Infant Jesus who makes the Nativity scene alive. His birth awakens our joy and wonder. It sets before us the great mystery of life, that is, God’s presence in our midst.
And I believe that the most beautiful thing in the world is a child sleeping. I am sometimes awed just by the feeling that rises up in me when beholding my niece asleep; it is an intense experience of grace. An encounter with grace reminds us that when we love, we really are doing nothing but allowing God to work through us, in us, expanding our souls so that God might use us for the sake of building up His kingdom. Beholding a child sleeping, being struck by beauty: that’s about as close as I can point to in my own life of grace. Life for a moment seems so very beautiful, so very worth sharing, so very worth the struggle. This is the grace of Christmas for me: to behold the Infant Jesus and just stare at Him. Everything is grace to be with Him. Merry Christmas to all of you!
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.
But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.
John testified to him and cried out, saying,
“This was he of whom I said,
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.'”
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side,
has revealed him.