Dear Sisters and Brothers in Jesus Christ,
We have a good news of great joy… to us is born this day in the city of Davie a Saviour, Jesus.
One of the most consoling sentences and at the time, one of the most troubling sentences in the entire Bible is I think Luke 2:7: “And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”
The consoling, joyful part is “she gave birth to her firstborn son…”
The troubling part, the sad part is, “there was no place for them in the in.”
“She gave birth to her firstborn son…” We rejoice at this because he was born in order to save us.
Some months back, I was distributing communion during an engagement mass. People from many parts of the country had come for this engagement. As I was distributing communion a little boy came up. As he was looking very small, and there were many people to receive communion I did not pay any attention to him. So he went back. A little later he came up again. Then I thought to myself, “He looks small, but perhaps he has already received first communion… so, maybe I will give him communion” As I was debating in my mind, someone came up and led him away.
At the end of the mass, a gentleman came up to me and said, “Father, the little boy who came up in the line was my son. And he is saying: “Jesus did not touch me today.”
Rather confused, I asked him, “What does that mean, ‘Jesus did not touch me today.’” And the gentleman explained, “In the parish from where we come, whenever he goes up to the priest who is distributing communion, the priest places his hands on his head and blesses him. You did not do that. That is why he is saying, “Jesus did not touch me today.”
In the words of that little boy we have a synthesis of the meaning of Christmas. Christmas is God touching us, or God coming to touch us.
Why did God come to touch us? He came to touch us, because we were wounded, injured, hurt, lifeless, because of sin. In many places in the Bible the touch of Jesus is connected to giving life.
When Jesus touched the coffin of the son of the widow of Nain and said, “Young man, I tell you, rise” (Lk 7:14), the young man got up.
When Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus we are told, “… he took her by the hand and called out, ‘Child, get up!’ (Lk 8:54). And the child sat up.
When Jesus touches us, we receive life, we become healed, especially of our sins.
God came to touch us, because the “inns of our hearts,” were filled with the poison of sin. We were dead or wounded spiritually. And there was no place for him in our hearts.
He came to “empty the inns” of our hearts, give us life, and make place for him.
There is a delightful legend about the shepherds who went to visit Jesus on Christmas night. All the grown-up shepherds carried some gifts to offer to Jesus. But there was a little shepherd boy among them, who could not find anything to take with him. He felt very ashamed that he had nothing to offer to Jesus. All the same he went, because he was eager to see Jesus. As all the shepherds began offering their gifts, our Blessed Mother did not know how to receive the gifts because she had child Jesus in her hands. So, she looked around, and saw this little boy with his hands empty. She entrusted Jesus to him and received the gifts. To have his hands empty was his fortune.
To receive Jesus, we must be empty … empty of our sinful tendencies, empty of our sinful ego. God can fill only that which is empty.
If the “inns of our hearts” are full, there will be no place there for God, as it happened on Christmas night.
When Jesus emptied himself of his godliness, as we are told in Phil 2: 6-8 he became one with us.
When we empty ourselves of our sinfulness, we become one with Jesus.
Dear Lord Jesus, touch us during this Christmas, so that we may be able to empty ourselves, and become filled with you.