Make of our hearts a creche for Christ's birth

by Sr. Joanne Suranni
Mon, Dec 30th 2019 05:00 pm

St. Teresa of Calcutta once said, "This Christmas when Christ comes, will He find a warm heart? Mark the season of Advent by loving and serving others with God's own love and concern." Following this simple advice will make of our hearts a crèche where our Lord can dwell more fully and stir up in us the true joy of Christmas.

Each week it is our custom to pray during the creed, "He came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man." In becoming a human being, God lowered himself so that we could experience complete communion with Him. The mystery of the descent of Christ into the womb of Mary shows us that the way of God is one of downward mobility.

Contemporary authors such as Henri Nouwen and Richard Rohr have explained the concept of downward mobility, not as a social construct, but a spiritual one. The world that we live in invites us to make it to the top, to break the record or to do whatever it is that gets the attention of others. With the evolution of social media, our egos are fed by likes, replies and comments made to us about how we put ourselves out there. This is the way of upward mobility. Money, fame and the lure of material goods are voices that clamor for attention.

The way of Jesus who became a tiny, vulnerable baby is profoundly different. This is the path of downward mobility which means going to the bottom and sometimes choosing the last place. Henri Nouwen said that this way is worth choosing because "it is the way to the Kingdom," and the way of Jesus. This is the path that leads to everlasting life.

In Jesus, God took on human flesh to reveal himself to us and to show us how to live. He revealed the face of God and gave us a pattern for living which included loving and serving others. Jesus, completely sharing in God's divine nature, simultaneously shared in human and reconciled the world to God by his death on the cross. 

Through the incarnation, God allows sinful humanity to partake in his own divine nature. The Son of God became the Son of Man and entered into complete communion with the human race. Jesus' communion with us has made us sons and daughters of the Most High God.

In this season of Advent and approaching Christmas Season, Jesus the Prince of Peace longs to dwell more fully in our hearts. He yearns for soft and supple hearts where he can abide more fully with humanity. Through Christian love and service, our Lord's way of life is incarnate through us.

During this holy time, opportunities to love and serve others with the love and concern of God abound. In this season of grace and waiting, we can express God's very own love and concern by sharing our time, our talents or material resources with others. Through quiet loving service of our neighbor, may our emptiness be filled with the life of God, and may our hearts become a creche for Christ's birth.

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