“You will find an infant … lying in a manger” – Luke 2:12
Even as a little child, I knew our family Christmas crib was special. Each December it took pride of place in our living room. It was quite large and well-constructed, with a low-watt bulb illuminating its interior. The figurines were life-like and gorgeous. My parents, sister and I were always captivated by the crib’s magnetic, mysterious power.
There was baby Jesus lying in a bassinet, between Mary and Joseph, eyes wide open looking straight at me, His tiny arms extended in a gesture of love and hospitality, tenderly drawing me into the scene.
There were a couple of shepherds, hardly observant Jews, most likely uneducated, from the lowest class of society, rubbing shoulders with three “kings” or wise men, Gentiles all, highly educated, able to afford camel travel from great distances. One of the figurines was black, Gaspar, by name, from Ethiopia, according to Sister Maria George. It didn’t seem to matter to Jesus or His parents whether the ones gathered there on that cold, damp night were rich, poor, of a different color, of another religion, or none. His little arms gestured that they and, by extension, we, the people of the world, were all welcome. A peace-filled Christian community was being formed on that holy night.
Gerhard Lohfink in a recent book observes that “the peace all nations so long for, comes only from God – and the helpless child in the manger is the true bringer of peace. With this it is clear: He only comes through absolute nonviolence.”
Rejoice! Today the nonviolent Christ is born! Let us adore, glorify, and imitate Him!
May we continually learn at Your crib – and at Your cross – how to live as Your faithful, loving disciples.
Brother Paul Feeney, C.F.X.
To view the full Advent 2022 booklet in English, click here.
For Spanish, click here.
For French, click here.