His father, leaning on his protective staff, oversaw the scene. Shepherds bearing an angelic announcement, Eastern sages, kneeling with gifts, lowing cattle bowing their heads; all revering the maiden, nursing mother.
None observed the creeping, ever-lengthening shadow cast by the distant cross; empty and awaiting, one day, the body of the baby.
© 2021 PRA
Illustration: Adoration of the Shepherds, Caravaggio (1571-1610)
2 thoughts on “Christmas”
I think the only mention of this reality and mystery that I can remember in traditional Christmas songs and stories is the fourth verse of the carol, “We Three Kings,” when the bitterness of myrrh is said to relate to the unfolding of Jesus’ life and death.
In this morning’s meditation, Richard Rohr included this statement: “Suffering is the emptying out of the soul so there’s room for love, so there’s room for the Christ, so there’s room for God.” His words, of course, relate to OUR suffering, not Jesus’s, but I can’t help but think that Jesus modeled for us in the course of his life and passion making room in our souls, our lives, and our hearts for love, for the compassion and unity of the whole and resurrected Christ, for God/Love, and thus, for all of Creation. While a fearsome image, the shadow of the cross across the manger, as described in your post, is a reminder not only of the price of suffering but also what its emptying can offer for individuals, for humanity, and for Creation.
A very blessed Christmas to you and Pontheolla.
Bidding you, dear Karen, Ted, and Emilia, the blessing of a richly meaningful Christmastide with love, always and in all ways.
Rohr’s view of suffering is a hard one — if not to grasp conceptually, given that pain can prompt release, as in a cathartic wholistic bodily and soulful response — to accept. For who desires suffering? Nevertheless, as you, I perceive (however inchoately) “this reality and mystery” of the suffering Christ; the child born to die. To strive to live in the kenotic (self-emptying) fashion (aye, faith) of Jesus is the very expression of self-sacrifice. And, in keeping with your word, “what (such) emptying can offer for individuals, for humanity, and for Creation,” I believe that this path of following Jesus/the Way connects us to the truth of our creation in the imago Dei, which Jesus teaches, saying, “those who seek to save life lose it and those who lose life for my sake save it.”