"Glory to the Newborn King!” “God is with us, Emmanuel.” “God to sinners reconciled.” For me, expressions like these used to be largely reminiscent of lyrics to Christmas songs growing up. That’s all the deeper it went. It was a song to sing at Christmastime, and, when the songwriter must’ve really thought about it, it often rhymed. It just “fit” nicely. But let’s take a moment and ponder one of these lines: “God is with us…” Do we even fathom what that means for us? God Himself became man for our sake. He came as a tiny baby to live and die with us and for us, like one of us in all things except sin. What a tremendous mystery! God so loved us that He chose to send His only son for us, born in humble lowliness, unrecognizable except to the eyes of faith.
Here in the convent, we live Advent and Christmas differently from the world. When we sing, we anticipate the mystery of the Incarnation with these eyes of faith. What a privilege it is to truly enter into the Liturgical seasons to prepare our hearts for Christ. Advent is no exception. While much of the world is busy “shopping till they drop,” finding the perfect present, and taking pictures with Santa, we are focused solely on the coming of Christ into our hearts. Christmas in the convent is one of the most beautiful experiences. Yes, there is a time for all the fun of the season, but we save it for the time it is liturgically celebrated. There is true joy, anticipation, prayer, and focus on the coming of Christ. I think sometimes in this world we miss out on many things because we are so focused on the hype of the season. Christmas exists as a holiday because of Jesus Christ’s coming to earth as man. Many times I see bumper stickers at this time of year that say, “Keep Christ in Christmas”. Yes, indeed, let us not remove Him from the feast that belongs to Him from its existence!
Recently in a meeting I had with a priest, I brought up the idea that at times I just feel plain inadequate. We all feel that way sometimes, don’t we? During this Advent, I was invited to counter that lie with truth found in prayer. I hope you can too! Here is what I mean: We need to hear from our Lord that the lie of our inadequacy is from the Evil One. God comes to bring us the knowledge that we are deeply loved by Him. We need to counter the lies because we are so precious to the Father that He sent Jesus to us as a tiny vulnerable baby, as God, to be one with us. That is love! This priest also told me that to the eyes of many, Baby Jesus seemed “inadequate.” He didn’t seem to be “enough” to save His people. But it is precisely through this littleness and vulnerability that He conquered. The devil is always afraid of truth, humility, littleness, and simplicity! I was invited to ponder the Christmas crèche at Christmas Eve, to look at the Baby Jesus. He, too, didn’t seem like “enough” to save the world. But, oh, how He was! One day, many years ago, there was a Virgin who gave birth to the Savior of the World, and His name is Jesus. Let us never forget such tremendous love. Indeed, this Love is more than enough. The beautiful truth is that it also makes us more than enough in His precious eyes! We are loved!