College Chaplain Reflection – December 3, 2015

December 2, 2015

For unto us a child is born!

There are some little signs in life to remind us that we are reaching maturity. One of them I think is the tendency to exclaim, -This year has just gone so quickly, how time flies!- I don’t ever remember having such a feeling as a boy-¦ but evidently such days are past. Just when it seems like the last Christmas was only yesterday, here it is upon us again. But that is just fine by me, I love Christmas.

As a child it is easy to be wrapped up in the joy of Christmas; after all much of the season’s efforts are directed towards making them happy. As an adult we can perhaps grow to resent those efforts. Loneliness, grief or broken relationships can also bear down on us. And yet, we still proclaim the season as a time of rejoicing, open and available to all. The lavish feast surrounded by loved ones, the gifts, the carols-¦ these are not the preconditions of that joy. Rather they are an expression or celebration of it. So what is it about the birth of a child that brings tidings of peace and joy? Why do we feel so at home kneeling by the manger? Perhaps we can highlight two aspects of the mystery.

The birth of any child is a miracle, a wonderful and unique moment in the history of the world. The arrival of the infant Jesus though marks a pivotal moment in human history. There is a real baby boy here, and yet in the great mystery of the Incarnation, he is also fully God. The deepest desire of mankind is to know and love God, he is the only one who can ultimately satisfy our yearnings. And here he is, seeking us out, embracing our human nature and becoming one of us. God is no longer distant. He is among us; he has a face. Love has a face.

This willingness of the Son to humble himself and enter our world speaks of a tremendous affirmation. And I mean tremendous here in the true sense; it shakes our doubts and fears and throws everything on its head. When God quietly entered our world he expressed a resounding -‘Yes’ to his creation. -Yes, you are worth seeking out. Yes, you are worth saving. Just as I created you, so I now stand among you and call you to life.- When we gaze upon that scene at Bethlehem, we see our God declaring his faith in us. Doubt, fear and despair melt away. Hope remains.

The mystery of love and hope is available to all. Some two thousand years ago, the sight of a child laid in a manger acted as a brilliant light in the midst of darkness. Joy and peace broke through where previously there was sadness and gloom. Today, it still has the power even now to turn our struggles on their head. Every one of you has been declared by God himself as worthy of love. And more than that, he has come to seek you out so that you can see in his eyes just how great that love is. No other power can shake us.

-Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.-