Jesus’s birth was truly a three-part gift; His first coming made it possible for us to be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It allowed us to receive sanctifying grace, the grace needed to receive our personal key to the gates of heaven.
His teachings give us a life map we each need to get to the gates of heaven. His teachings also give us a mirror that allows us to take a close look at ourselves and our lives to see if others can see the Christ in us. A mirror that allows us to see if we are living a life that others who don’t know Jesus would be moved enough to want what they see in us.
The third part of His gift is His death and resurrection allowing us to be forgiven of our sins and the gates of heaven to become accessible. Allowing us to share in His body blood soul and divinity. True food is given to us so that we might be sustained through our earthly journey, true food is found only in the Eucharist.
Approximately four hundred years ago the artist Guido Reni [RAY-knee] painted a picture called The Aurora, or sunrise. Reni wanted to depict through the painting the chariot of the sun coming up through the clouds and driving away the dark symbolizing Christ’s coming to earth at Christmas and driving away the darkness of sin.
About twenty years ago two college students from the United States took a semester abroad to study art history in Rome. They spent as much time as they could inside the Eternal City’s churches and art museums.
One Saturday they visited a small and little-known location called the Palazzo Rospigliosi [rohs-pihl-YOH-see]. They wanted to see a painting mentioned in their textbooks and praised by one of their professors.
The painting is full of action: horses, clouds, young men and women, darkness and light all swirling together with deep colors and vital energy.
It was painted on the ceiling of a room in the palace. When the students found the room and the painting, they had to crane their necks to see it. They were so focused that they lost track of time. By then their necks had grown so stiff they couldn’t hold them up any longer. Finally, they bent their heads forward to relax.
That’s when they noticed a large table directly beneath the painting, with a giant mirror on top of it, reflecting every detail of the great work of art. They smiled with relief – now they could study the masterpiece with comfort and ease.
Christmas is like that mirror, but even better: Jesus Christ isn’t just a reflection that makes it easier for us to contemplate God our Father and learn His teachings; Jesus is God himself who came down to earth and became man in order to lead all of us who reflect His teachings and laws to the gates of heaven.
The question we must ask ourselves; are we working to keep our mirror clean so others may clearly see the Christ in us, that they may join us in our journey?
My fellow disciples; May you and I prayerfully take some time today to celebrate the first coming of Jesus. May we commit to prayer and fasting over these next twelve days as we anticipate the birth of the greatest man ever born. May we pray that we remember that the peace of God surpasses all understanding and will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus and lead us to His Kingdom.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.Philippians 4:4-7