Saturday, December 20, 2014

Simple and Straightforward

So often our mind and imagination is full of all sorts of different ideas and images of what the Nativity of Jesus must have looked like. There are movies and plays, music and poetry, and many other mediums that try to impress upon us the significance of the event of the Word becoming flesh. It was on my heart however that for our Nativity Play this year at the Saint Francis Youth Center we should attempt to use the Gospels as our inspiration, nothing more and nothing less. The Gospels reveal to us a story full of wonder, glory, haste, hospitality, family, trial, fear, peace, and several other actions, emotions, and relationships. The Nativity Story is, just like many of our lives are, very full. And it is into the midst of this fullness that Jesus comes to us, to turn what we think might be a fulfilling life into one that is overflowing and brimming with divine life.

“Every idea of [God] we form, He must in mercy shatter.” I recently came across this quote from C.S. Lewis, and it struck a chord with my experience of looking anew at the Nativity of Jesus Christ. I have over the years become stuck in imagining His birth taking place in a certain way. For instance, where I saw something all too simple (the shepherds) the glory of God appears with a multitude of angels. There were many other moments like this that grabbed my attention, which surprised me, and that left me thinking, ‘how could I have forgotten that.

I think my point is this: we frequently allow our minds to wander and our hearts to become fugitives from the reality that we are designed from the beginning for a fullness beyond anything we could imagine. By becoming the human being Jesus, God wants to share with each human person his own eternal life, in such a way that our fragile, contradictory human nature would not be overwhelmed or crushed, but filled utterly.

Br. Lazarus Sharpe, CFR
Bronx, NY
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