Christmas, like every stage in the life of Jesus, needs to be seen in the light of Easter to let its full meaning appear. By the gift of his life even to the point of dying on the cross, Jesus sets humanity free from the fears that encumber us and opens the way to the life of full communion with God. And he will bring this about by means of a reversal we could never have suspected: by dying, by going into the most complete weakness.
At Christmas, the angel-messengers proclaim the glory of God. The sign given is a new-born child. But no more information is given about his destiny -- where, when or how? The whole promise and the presence of God unfold in a new-born child who represents the state of extreme dependance and vulnerability. God is not going to use other means to reveal himself and accomplish his plan. This is where his saving action is going to take place.
In this way he removes all ambiguity about his power and his authority. He does not force: he calls. As a new-born child, he asks for and stirs up what is best in human beings. God takes the risk that people are not going to refuse him. God is going to act through others, through the response of others.
In this way, he makes himself accessible for everyone. All humanity can recognize him, from the shepherds on the margins of society to the wise men from a foreign country who have neither scriptures nor prophets. What a hope is offered there! The messengers call us to peace, not to anxiety.
Through which paths of weakness does God come into the world today?
How does God come to be born in the things that are most vulnerable in my life?
When am I able to say with the apostle Paul: "When I am weak, then I am strong"?
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