Contemplate the Baby Lying in the Manger

by | Dec 20, 2022 | Formation, Reflections

Jesus is the Savior, Messiah and Lord.  To know and accept him, we first have to contemplate the baby lying in the manger.

One can take it, for sure, that the shepherds cannot bear contemplate the very bright light that shine around them.  For great fear strikes them.

But the angel reassures them right away and announces to them the good news of the birth of the Savior.  Such news is not just for them, though, but also for all the people.

And the Messiah and Lord is born in the city of David, one of the little cities in Judah.  This may well be a way to tell the shepherds that God chooses the little folks.

In fact, he chose David.  He took him from following the sheep and made him the ruler of Israel.  And the chosen leader was the youngest of Jesse’s sons.

No, God does not see as we humans do.  We look on the appearance; he looks on the heart.  That is why he does not fail to contemplate the littleness of the shepherds, to fix his gaze on them.  Hence, he chooses them to be the first ones to hear the Good News.  To make known later, to others’ surprise and amazement, what they have heard about the child.  And to see too, later also, that all they see and hear is just as the angel has told them.

Yes, the shepherds find Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. They, for sure, cannot but contemplate him.  Is he really the Savior?  How is it that he does not share Cesar Augustus’ or governor Quirinius’ greatness?  The child is more like them, the shepherds, at home with the poor.

Contemplate the child lying in the manger

We are to be like the shepherds.  Or the text, “He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him,” will be true of us.  That is to say, we have to be of the lowly and throwable who shake in awe when God speaks.  We should also be in haste, eager and ready, to meet the Savior, and to make him known to others.  But first of all, we must contemplate him in his lowliness and self-emptying.

No, there is no way to contemplate the child lying in the manger as a ruler who lord it over those he rules.  The one who lies in the manger cannot but be the least and the weakest of all.

He also lets all know that he is food.  Yes, the baby in the manger will later give us his body as food, and his blood as drink.  He will not be served but will serve, and give his life to save us.

Lord Jesus, you are the brightness of God’s glory and the very stamp of his being, yet you lie as a baby in the manger.  Grant that we see you face to face and grasp that you are, in flesh, the grace, goodness and love of God, who seeks us out and does not forsake us.  Grant also that we contemplate you “by the light of faith” and serve you in the person of the poor (SV.EN XI:26).

25 December 2022
Nativity of the Lord
Night:  Is 9, 1-6; Tit 2, 11-14; Lk 2, 1-14 * Dawn:  Is 62, 11-12; Tit 3, 4-7; Lk 2, 15-20 * Day:  Is 52, 7-10; Heb 1, 1-6; Jn 1, 1-18