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Nativity of Our Lord 2023

The infinite God has accepted our flesh, our nature, our humanity. He, the King and Lord of the universe, reduced himself to the human nature he created. It is a paradox beyond reason that leads to amazement.  Those who witnessed these events, who heard   that they were to go and see the child wrapped     in swaddling cloth and laid in a manger, were amazed at the sight. How is that possible!     However, they hear from the angels a call to rejoice. The situation of Israel, under Roman occupation    and awaiting the Messiah, gave no reason to rejoice. Likewise the situation of Jesus himself, all he had was hay under his head. What an amazing contrast! And yet a call for joy!                                                                                                                                                    Perhaps our hearts, our lives today resemble that poor manger.   We hear the call to rejoice because God is born, but there is no splendour in our hearts, no prospect of rejoicing, perhaps because we feel crushed today by the weight of everyday life, or perhaps we are afraid of what tomorrow will bring us, because  we do not know what the new year will offer us; perhaps we feel rejected, left out, unnecessary,

maybe we have had an argument with someone; maybe, when we look at what is happening around us, it feels as though the apocalypse is coming. When we look at everything around us in this way, perhaps we think there is no reason to be happy. And yet, Jesus was born in poor, seemingly unfavourable circumstances for joy. Not in a palace, not in splendour, not accompanied by fireworks.  The Birth of the Saviour is not a fairy tale, not a story straight out of a comic strip where a superhero changes everything in one move.   The story we hear , is a story of real life, of God entering into human life as it is, into our nature as   it is, into our daily life as it is.      Today, he wants to enter your daily life in the same way, into your heart, into your life – as it is. Even    if it is poor, even if there is little to be happy about. He wants to bring joy with his presence.                                                                                                                                  Christmas brings joy because it changes perspective. We know from then on that we do not struggle with the hardships of everyday life alone, because God is with us. We do not bear the cross alone, for He bears it with us. We are not alone, for He is with us – -Emmanuel, that is, God-with- us.

From the paradox of the Nativity to the amazement of this action of God, until the discovery that He is present in my life, bringing real joy into it – these are the dynamics of Christmas.                                                                                                                                                                           I wish you to allow Jesus to enter that poor manger that is your heart, which can do so little of itself,     so that He may appear there in that poverty, because with Him you can do everything, overcome everything, and with Him you can discover true joy, which may accompany us not only at Christmas.