Those of you who read MTT regularly know that I often think about the gaps in the gospel stories and how I like to fill them in with made-up fictional tales. So, today, Christmas Eve, I’m thinking about what might have happened the day before Jesus was born … the first Christmas Eve.
Joseph and Mary were nearing the end of their journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. They expected to make it to their destination at about nightfall. So here they were, on the road with just a few miles to go, meeting up with other travelers, perhaps others from the family of David who were also rushing to Bethlehem for the census. No doubt they were friends, at least acquaintances, of many these other people. I can imagine that they marveled at the fact that Mary, nine months pregnant, had traveled for days on the back of the family donkey while being jostled and perhaps bruised with every donkey step.
But, knowing Mary, they also knew her personality … humble, patient, kind (to Joseph), and eager, while at the same time being anxious, worried, frightened and … calm. Calm? Yes. She knew that it would all work out. She knew about the baby she was carrying. She knew that He was the Savior of all mankind, the lamb of God and that the sinful course of all humanity was about to change because of Him. Of course we know what happened upon their arrival … a frantic search for accommodations, no room in the inn, and having to settle for a stable with the warmth of livestock to provide a comfortable temperature.
This scene has, of course, been fully captured by designers of cribs and manger scenes ever since that day. This morning I awoke to one such sight in my front yard (minus the livestock) as the heavy snow was falling. I ran back into my house to grab my camera and, wouldn’t you know it, was late for the 7 AM Mass at the cloistered Sisters convent. But at least I got a nice picture, complete with the reflections of my camera flash off the snowflakes between me and the holy family and a halo for the Christ Child. Merry Christmas everyone and may the love of God touch your hearts in a special way today and always! Amen.