Dear brothers and sisters,
So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph,
and the infant lying in the manger,
Merry Christmas everyone! Today, we celebrate the nativity of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Son of God, Son of Mary! Today we celebrate the mystery of the salvation of humanity in the birth of the offspring of the New Eve!
Our Blessed Mother Mary teaches us today to quietly reflect, to ponder and take the unfolding mystery of our salvation into our hearts: and Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart, Luke 2:19).
As the Mother of redeemed humanity, we ought to follow her example. She is a good listener whose heart is always open to receive, keep and reflect on God’s word. It was her listening, reflecting and responding to God’s word sent to her by the angel Gabriel that changed the world forever.
In listening, receiving and acquiescing to the word of the angel, the Word became flesh in her womb and God’s promise of salvation of the world made at the fall of the world through the first mother of humanity was fulfilled.
Today, we recall how she listens once more to the word of God brought to her by shepherds who have come in from the fields where they had received the word of the birth of the Savior of the world from an angel.
What was the message of that angel to the shepherds? “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger,” (Luke 2:10-12).
Mary receives this good news from the shepherds and reflects on them in her heart. She had to reflect once more on what was foretold to her at the annunciation and now retold through the shepherds.
She and Joseph and the infant lying in the manger are the good news that the shepherds received. Yet, there is another detail in the good news that Mary and Joseph might have pondered: the wrapping of the infant in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.
Although it was Mary that wrapped the infant Lord and Savior in swaddling clothes (Luke 2:7), this detail was revealed by angel to the shepherds as a sign. What about this detail could be significant to shepherds?
Shepherds also wrapped in swaddling clothes newborn lambs that were destined for sacrifice in the Temple so to keep them unblemished. The shepherds would have recognized this significance and were then beholding the infant as the Lamb of God.
This infant wrapped up in swaddling clothes by His mother at His birth and thirty three years later at His death is going to take off His own swaddling clothes and bless the sinful and dying world with Resurrection to life eternal.
Merry Christmas everyone! – Fr. Simi.