By Karen Sheehy
As a child, setting up the Christmas creche was always the high point of my tree trimming responsibilities. Each day, over the weeks leading up to Christmas, my brothers and I took turns arranging the temporary house of Jesus. I took this responsibility very seriously, for this was no small task. “Where should the baby Jesus be positioned in relationship to His parents? How far off should the three wise men, the shepherds and their sheep be in relationship to the stable? And the little drummer boy, where should he go?” Even as a child, I seemed to understand the importance of God’s dwelling place among His people. Today’s readings, chosen for the day before Christmas, acknowledge a similar concern.
In the Old Testament, we read about David’s desire to build a house for the Lord. “Here I am living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God dwells in a tent,” (2SM 7:2). Was David’s desire bad? I would say, “no,” however, God’s ways are not our ways. God’s response, spoken through the prophet Nathan, “Go, tell my servant, David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Should you build me a house to dwell in?’ It was I who took you from the pasture….to be commander of my people,” (2SM 7:5 and 8). As we read further, we learn that God’s desired dwelling place would not be a physical structure but a person, His promised Son, the Messiah. This Son would come from the line of David and rule as an eternal king. He would save, protect and dwell among God’s people. “I will fix a place for my people Israel; I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his kingdom firm. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me,” (2SM 7:10, 12 and 14).
In today’s Gospel, we get our first glimpse at God’s new dwelling place. Mary, from the priestly house of Levi, is the new Ark of the Covenant, and her Son, Jesus Christ, from the line of David, is the promised Savior of the World, (LK 1:30-32). At the end of the Gospel, Mary is told to visit her cousin Elizabeth, for Jesus, God incarnate, will not dwell in a tent but among His people in a very intimate and personal manner. He will dwell within our very beings, within our bodies, hearts and souls. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we will become the new home or Temple of God. All we must do, in return, is give our own “Fiat” or yes.
Each Mass, we receive the very Body and Blood of Christ, the Savior and Eternal ruler of the Kingdom of God. As we go to Mass tomorrow, let us give thanks (Eucharist) to God, as King David did, “the praises of the Lord I will sing forever; through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness,” (PS 89:2). Let us give Him our own yes or fiat, so that He may enter our lives in a very personal and intimate manner. Let us simultaneously become a vehicle of Christ’s light and love to all the nations and people of the world. This Jesus, “manifested through the prophetic writings and, according to the command of the eternal God,” came not just for the nation of Israel but for “all nations to bring about the obedience of faith,” (RM 16:25-26).
Just as the Christmas creche contains many more people than just the babe, Mary and St. Joseph, so too should our lives, as Christians, be filled with more than just our own intimate concerns. As a child, I recognized the magnetic effect that the small child had on all those people seeking His presence. I pray that, as an adult, I may recognize this same desire and longing in others, and strive to affectively demonstrate Christ’s light in actions and words to a world in such desperate need of love.
I wish you and your family a very merry Christmas. May the light of Christ’s love fill your hearts, your homes and our world. Amen
About the Author:
Karen Sheehy is a devout Catholic, wife and mother, motivational speaker, blogger and developer of spiritualsafariguide.com, your passport to a world of spiritual inspiration and understanding. To learn more about Karen Sheehy and her upcoming book entitled, The Healing Eyes of Mercy. A Journey Towards the Light of God’s Love, visit http://www.spiritualsafariguide.com