One of my favorite things about going to Mass during the Christmas season is seeing the nativity set. My most favorite piece, the one that always mesmerizes me, is the infant Jesus.
The infant Jesus at our church has his arms extended – reaching out with love to embrace us – as if the baby already knows his role. His arms reaching out to serve, his hands ready to heal. The young arms of this child will grow and stretch out on a cross to show us how much he loves us. The tiny hands of this babe will have bloody holes in them to save us. That’s what I always saw. The beautiful Christ Child reaching out to me and showering me with his love. A love that I joyfully accepted, but usually kept for myself.
Then, a few years ago, it changed.
No, they did not change the nativity set. All the figures and the baby Jesus were the exact ones they had always used. But this particular Christmas I saw something different when I looked at the Christ Child with his arms outstretched.
Infant Jesus looked at me and pleaded with me, “Will you embrace me? I need you to pick me up and love me.” The “me” I realized he was referring to was all those in my life who I was struggling with loving. Jesus wanted me to embrace his love, and then share it with others. The Baby was inviting me to change; to stretch out and give his love to those who needed it most.
So consider this when looking upon the infant Jesus in the manger this Christmas:
- Yes! Embrace and accept his love, but don’t stop there….
- Ask yourself–Who does that meek and helpless baby represent? Who in my life needs me to embrace them with the love of the Christ Child?
- Then stretch out your arms and ask for the grace to do it.
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!