Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on email
Email

Behind the Christmas story

As I grow older, I realize that things are better accomplished in simple ways. Looking back on the years when I was younger and more energetic, I realize I could have done more (and avoided many mistakes) had I been less impulsive, more patient and more simple. 

In today’s gospel, God puts the finishing touches on his great plan of sending his Messiah. His plan had been prepared for thousands of years, and now the time has come for its fulfilment. Beyond anyone’s expectation, God sends no less than his own Son as the promised Savior. And to carry out the most important task of bringing his Son into the world, God chooses two ordinary persons – Mary and Joseph.

Surprisingly, God accomplishes his grand designs in simple ways. Using common people, he enters into our world, through his Son Jesus, silently, even surreptitiously. However more than the simplicity and humility of Mary and Joseph, it is their willingness to cooperate with God that makes Christmas happen.

Our idea of Christmas is often one that is painted in cards and sung in carols – the picture of a “silent night” where “all is calm and all is bright.” Behind the romanticized story of Christmas, however, lies a human drama so raw and intense that it inflicts untold pain on the hearts of its characters.

Upon hearing that Mary is with child (not his own), Joseph must have been torn by turmoil and anguish. He would not dare judge Mary of infidelity, and much less allow her to be subjected to death by stoning in consequence of such judgment. Likewise, Mary must have found herself in a distressing dilemma and the sheer inability to defend her virgin pregnancy. Who would believe her story of conception by the Holy Spirit? 

Both Joseph and Mary are trapped in a conflicting and embarrassing situation which is far beyond their grasp, even if it is revealed to them by the angel as part of God’s plan. They are put in the predicament of choosing between their limited understanding and the inscrutable wisdom of God, between their plan for their lives and God’s plan for the world. They can only bow to God and surrender to his divine design in an act of faith and obedience. And because of their humble act of submission, the Son of God becomes incarnate in Mary’s womb and becomes the Son of David under Joseph’s ancestral lineage. 

Today’s gospel reading opens with the verse: “This is how the birth of Jesus came about…” and then proceeds to tell the story of two ordinary people who hear God’s word and (even when they could not understand it) cooperate with God’s plan. In the same way, this too is how Christ comes into our life, when we listen to his word and put it into practice.*

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on email
Email
ARCHIVES

Read Article by date

January 2023
MTWTFSS
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031 

Get your copy of the Visayan Daily Star everyday!

Avail of the FREE 30-day trial.