When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.
But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Advent was a busy season of preparation. Cooking, baking, wrapping presents and writing cards have exhausted me. Preparing can be exhausting. Not everything has gone exactly as I had planned or would have liked it to play out. But Jesus’ birth has arrived; ready or not, it’s Christmas!
Mary and Joseph did not have everything go according to their plan. They couldn’t have imagined that the birth of Jesus, Emmanuel, God with Us, would be in a manger. They couldn’t have imagined that their visitors would include stranger-shepherd, that none of their family would be with them. They were exhausted from a journey, but God still came in their exhaustion.
What joy they must have felt, the birth of their child. And also, the joy of having others share in their joy and truth – that the Messiah and Christ, God who is Love, has been born into the world. When others may have doubted, these shepherds, complete strangers, come to support them and praise God with them, sharing the good news of Jesus’ birth even if others may be confused and doubtful.
Jesus, help me to have a loving heart like your mother, welcoming others and reflecting on the events of your life. Help me to hold the events of today and this Christmas season in my heart; to see your face in those I love and those who have loved and supported me; to see your face in strangers who are seeking your love, mercy, and justice. May I always see your face and entrance into my life, especially in those moments I would not have expected. Amen.
—Mike Tedone, SJ