Several weeks before Christmas are devoted to frantic shopping. It starts on Black Friday and continues even beyond the Boxing Day. Many are looking for best gifts to be bought for their beloved ones. The time of Christmas should be, however, primarily spent on reflection.
Firstly, on almighty God becoming man. He must have seen the misery of humankind: the wars, the incurable diseases, lack of hope in existence after death, just to mention a few. Fortunately, our triune God cares. After Adam rebelled in the paradise, God did not give up on him but looked for him asking: “where are you?” The Holy Trinity made a communal discernment of intrusting the task of reconciliation to Jesus.
Secondly, we might question why the incarnation took place only 2017 years ago. It is not a long period comparing to the long history of humankind. What does it mean that Christ was born in the fullness of time? It is certainly connected with Mary the Mother of God. A perfect woman free of any sin had to be found to be worthy to give birth to the Son of God. One of our tourist attractions on the Manitoulin Island; the unique Catholic church in M’Chigeeng, is named “Immaculate Conception” which refers to Her privilege of being born without the original sin. God waited anxiously for Mary’s birth as did Israelites for the coming of the Messiah.
Thirdly, the choice of birth place asks for some pondering. Yes, the prophecy about Bethlehem had to be fulfilled. On the other hand, it indicates the fullness of incarnation. Even before His birth, Jesus subordinated Himself to earthly authority as ordinary Israelites had to do. Mary and Joseph had to travel to the latter ancestral place to register. Unfortunately, they could not find hospitable place to stay at their destination. A poor manger had to suffice. Christ was rejected by some already when He was still in Mary’s womb. Most of the scribes and Pharisees were soundly asleep when The Light of the World manifested Himself to the lowly shepherds.
The shepherds received the Good News from the angels. Without hesitation, they ran hastily to greet the newly born baby. Genuflecting in front of him, they showed their belief in His divinity. Afterwards, they shared their insight with others. It is our task as Christians to continue their mission as the Apostles did after the Resurrection. We should provide a link to Jesus for many who lost correct navigation in their lives despite all modern computers. Whenever we drive on the bridge connecting our Manitoulin Island with the mainland, we can recall Jesus becoming in Bethlehem The Bridge between God and all humanity and us extending It to our brothers and sisters.
Father Antoni Baranowski
Holy Cross Parish, Wikwemikong
Church of Our Lady of Canada, Mindemoya
Church of the Immaculate Conception, M’Chigeeng
Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Gore Bay
Church of St. Gabriel Lalemant, Birch Island