“She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Rejected from the beginning. The birth of Jesus was a preview of His life.
Through the centuries expectations had built up of what the Messiah would be. The people were expecting a liberator—someone who would restore Israel—a king, a commander of armies, a person who would defeat the Roman government and put the Jews in power. Obviously, Jesus did not meet the expectations for the long-awaited Messiah. Even John the Baptist, His cousin, sent messengers to ask, “Are you the One who is to come, or shall we look for another?” Almost like saying, “Are you going to meet our expectations, or do we look for someone else?” Doubts arose from His birth. Jesus was a baby who was conceived outside the normal course of nature. Mary was pregnant before she lived with her husband Joseph. People talked, gossip spread, and folks did not forget the juicy story. Finger pointing, jokes, name-calling followed Jesus wherever He went. But He surprised everyone! Rather than being angry that people made fun of Him, Jesus helped them. He cured the sick, raised the dead, preached a message of hope. Jesus turned the world upside down with the commandment of love. Love was not an option. Love was a way of life—the way to the Kingdom. “Love your enemies. Pray for those who mistreat you.” Naturally, the Lord lost many followers when He spoke about forgiveness of adversaries. Jesus practiced what He preached all the way to the cross. From the cross Jesus pronounced absolution on those who crucified Him.
Indeed, Jesus disappointed many who were looking for external changes while He was seeking to change hearts. Jesus battled against the old law of: “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Survival of the fittest. I will destroy anyone who gets in my way.” The cultural climate hasn’t changed much. We just have faster ways of communication, more powerful weapons and speed of light transportation. However, sins against love remain the same. Families have been the victims. If we wanted to take a reading of our strength and our weakness the gage is the family. We are as strong as our weakest family. The family is the lifeblood of the Church. That’s why Jesus did not come by Himself. He came as a Baby, with a mother and a father. He was dependent on His parents during His formative years. Jesus identified with us in every way, except sin. No doubt that Jesus got angry, tired, disappointed—but He never sinned.
Sin is rooted in pride. All sins originate from pride. The almighty ego pokes its head when we think that we are right and everybody else is wrong: husbands and wives, traffic, the government. Many use religion as another way to be right. Some folks aren’t interested in growing in their faith—they just want to prove others wrong—they want to win. Our Faith is not about being right. Our Faith is not a head trip of theological jargon. Faith is a journey. The originator of faith is God. God has faith in us. He believes in humanity so much that He became one of us. Jesus trusted us and entered the world as a helpless baby. The same vulnerability that Jesus showed as His birth, He also manifest in the Eucharist. The Lord of Lords and King of Kings gives Himself into our hands at every Holy Mass. Just like in the Incarnation, Jesus accepts the limits of time and space to become the Sacrament of salvation—our nourishment for everlasting life. His sacrifice gives us grace beyond measure. By His Incarnation we are restored to original innocence. Jesus came to get us back in God’s grace—back to the original plan. All is restored in Christ.
Christmas is the celebration of the greatest birthday in human history. The party is not about one day, but every day. We celebrate that Jesus Christ lives inside of every person.