Posts Tagged ‘Christ Child’

The Nativity of Jesus

Isaiah 9:6: Seek Wholeness

First Sunday of Advent, December 3, 2017

For a child has been born for us,
    a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
    and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

In this special time of year we may well want to consider where and how to find the wholeness we seek; and we need do nothing more than remember God’s gift of self in the form of a vulnerable child.

We can easily imagine how easy it is to reject the idea that an infant might be a Wonderful Counselor and yet Jesus reminded us that we will want to be innocent as children if we want to enter the New Kingdom. How might we surrender to God’s care of us this week?

It is equally impossible to think of the child as Mighty God when we see him in swaddling clothes in a poor stable because there is no room for him in a proper inn or home. How might we rely on God’s strength in us this week?

An Everlasting Father has the power to save, to renew and transform. Again, we wonder how a child might rescue us from a strange and conflicted world. How might we trust in God this week as we unburden ourselves to the Creator?

As Prince of Peace Jesus brings healing and consolation. Yet again, we marvel at these simple gifts that are freely given. How might we seek wholeness this week as we reveal our worries and woes, our pain and suffering to this small yet marvelous child?

Each day this week, we reflect on the concept of Wholeness in God, in Christ and in the Spirit as we enter this first dark week of the Advent Season.

To watch the London Symphony Orchestra from Handel’s Messiah, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MS3vpAWW2Zc

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Judges 17: As We Are – Part III

Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 20, 2015


Fray Juan Bautista Maíno: Adoration of the Shepherds

In this time of Advent, as we expect the coming of light and truth, we reflect on the gift of life that comes to us in the innocence of a child.

As we are . . . We come to the crèche to adore as the lowly shepherds came. The poorest, the marginalized, the abandoned and neglected. We bring our worries and anxieties . . . just as we are.

As we are . . . We come to the stable as the Magi came. The wise, the enlightened, the privileged and comfortable. We bring our hopes and our fears . . . just as we are.

As we are . . . We come to the Christ child as people for millennia have come. The troubled, the peaceful, the miserable, the joyful. We bring our dreams and plans . . . just as we are.


Fray Juan Bautista Maíno: Adoration of the Magi

As we are . . . We come to Christ as our families and colleagues, our friends and enemies come. We come to Christ’s beauty and innocence and we are either closed or open. We come to life in Christ, and Christ accepts us . . . just as we are. We give thanks for God’s great generosity today.

To listen to the Radiolab podcast on Normalcy today to consider how the norms we adopt open or close us to hear God’s voice, visit: http://www.radiolab.org/story/91693-new-normal/

To reflect on how we come to the Christ child this Advent, click on the images above and study Maíno’s paintings in detail The Adoration of the Shepherds and The Adoration of the Magior visit: https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/adoration-of-the-shepherds/103e1807-2917-4906-87ce-71a3a027f37e?searchid=f9f31297-8ba6-6a71-c8f9-8e467d5eb988 and https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/the-adoration-of-the-magi/3f1f4d63-0476-4ac0-904f-776713defe78?searchid=9245f6a4-fab5-7ba0-23b9-1181d542b32c 


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January 6, 2015

Feast of the Three Kings

Joy and the Magi

Jude 1:24-25

The New Testament Letters bring us the good news that the risen Christ still walks with us each day. Paul, Peter, James and John remind the faithful that although much has been asked of Christ’s followers, much is also given. With them, we remember that there is always hope when we are overcome by doubt, always light that will pierce the darkness, and always joy, even in days of deep and unrelenting grief. Today Jude – like the Magi whose visit to the stable we celebrate today – calls us to discover the true identity of the Christ Child. Jesus as the true joy of the world.

“This letter is by its address attributed to “Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and brother of James. Since he is not identified as an apostle, this designation can hardly be meant to refer to the Jude or Judas who is listed as one of the Twelve. The person is almost certainly the other Jude, named in the gospels among the relatives of Jesus, and the James who is listed as his brother is the one to whom the letter of James is attributed. Nothing else is known of this Jude”. (Senior 396)

Jude 1:24-25: Now to the one who is able to keep you from falling and to make you stand joyful and faultless in his glorious presence, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus the Messiah, our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time and for all eternity! Amen.

Jude’s letter contains just twenty-five verses. Visit with his words today. Compare the International Standard Version (ISV) with others found at the scripture link above, and allow God’s joy to settle into your day.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.396. Print.   

To watch a King James version of the Nativity story, click on the image of the Magi above. 

joyIf this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to investigate the New Testament, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar. You may want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Lamentations  – Poignant Grief and Unquenchable Hope

Stomer: Adoration of the Shepherds

Stomer: Adoration of the Shepherds

The seeming conflict between human weakness and divine power is one we humans constantly explore; we can never quite understand the inversion of logic that Jesus brings to the world much less put this inversion of thought into action ourselves.  When we experience dreadful times we must turn to the truth that we are made whole in our emptiness, that sorrow always carries with it joy, and that God resides with those who are broken and forgotten.  In our deepest grief transformation lies in the outrageous hope God offers us . . . in this hope beyond hope that the incredible promise of Christmas is indeed true. The Book of Lamentations may seem like as unusual point of reflection as we enter fully enter the Christmastide but we find something here today that speaks to our human circumstance.   We discover that grief is always a subtle presence at any celebration . . . and that restoration accompanies all loss when we remain in the Spirit.

The five laments found in this book of the Bible “combine confession of sin, grief over the suffering and humiliation of Zion, submission to merited chastisement, and strong faith in the constancy of Yahweh’s love and power to restore.  The union of poignant grief and unquenchable hope reflects the constant prophetic vision of the weakness of man and the strength of God’s love; it also shows how Israel’s faith in Yahweh could survive the shattering experience of national ruin”.  (Senior 1017)  The inversion the Christ Child brings to the world is the same conversion of the Old Testament Yahweh.

A few weeks ago we studied Psalm 90 and reflected on its truth.  In this sacred poem we find our human limitations compared with God’s infinite goodness; we are told that God transforms even our most crushing suffering when we hand over our pain.  It remains for us to act on this knowledge.  It is for us to see the connection between the deep heartache of human distress and the nativity of inestimable hope in the person of Jesus.  Why reflect on a centuries-old lament when we celebrate happiness?  Because Christ represents the only true passage from the inconsolable grief we experience to the indescribable joy we say we seek.

Picture1And so we might spend a bit of time today reflecting.

Do we really want to be happy or do we sabotage our chance to know true delight?  Each of us must make this journey to uncover our hidden plots against ourselves and others. 

Do we honestly want to experience true gladness or do we dwell in the lamentation of our lives refusing to step into the joy fearing that the promise of Christ is yet another disappointment?  Each of us must be willing to hand ourselves over to God and to give a full and candid accounting of our days. 

Do we truly believe in the conversion of poignant grief through the transforming power of unquenchable hope?  If so, and if we honestly wish to live in true Christmas joy promised by the Christ Child, we must plumb our own depths of lamentation and ask: What do we prefer, a life of frustration and illusion or a life filled with promise, trust, and joy?  

It is for each of us to pause today.  What is the true message of the Christ Child?

It is for each of us to decide today.  Do we believe in the message of Jesus’ Nativity?

It is for each of us to act today.   Are we prepared to carry God’s unquenchable Christmas hope into the world for the conversion of our most poignant grief?

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.1017. Print.   

For a reflection on Psalm 90, go to: https://thenoontimes.com/2012/12/10/gods-eternity-our-fraility/

For more on the Book of Lamentations – Surviving Ruin go to: https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/the-old-testament/the-prophets/lamentations-surviving-ruin/

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