Birth of the Messiah. The "chair" of Bethlehem

Jesus, Mary and Joseph were alone. But God looked for simple people to accompany them, shepherds, perhaps because, being humble, they would not be frightened to find the Messiah in a cave, wrapped in swaddling clothes.

They are the shepherds of those surroundings to whom the prophet Isaiah referred: the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light

On this first night alone the prophecy is fulfilled in them. They see a great light: the glory of the Lord has enveloped them with brightness8. Do not be afraid, says an angel to them, for I come to bring you good news of a great joy, which will be for all the people; today, in the city of David, a Savior has been born to you, who is the Christ, the Lord

That night they are the first and only ones to know it. "On the other hand, today millions of men all over the world know it. The light of the night of Bethlehem has reached many hearts, and yet, at the same time, darkness remains. Sometimes it seems even more intense (...). Those who welcomed him that night found great joy. The joy that springs from the light. The darkness of the world overcome by the light of God's birth (...).

"It does not matter that, on that first night, the night of God's birth, the joy of this event reaches only these few hearts. It does not matter. It is destined for all human hearts. It is the joy of the human race, superhuman joy! 

Can there be a greater joy than this, can there be a better New than this: man has been accepted by God to become his son in this Son of God, who has become man? ".

God willed that these shepherds should also be the first messengers; they will go and tell what they have seen and heard. And all who heard them marveled at what the shepherds had said to them11 . In the same way, Jesus reveals himself to us in the midst of the normality of our days; and the same dispositions of simplicity and humility are also necessary to reach him. It is possible that in the course of our life he will give us signs that, seen with human eyes, say nothing. We must be attentive to discover Jesus in the simplicity of the ordinary, wrapped in swaddling clothes and reclining in a manger, without showy manifestations. And everyone who sees Christ is moved to make him known immediately. He cannot wait.

Naturally the shepherds would not set out without gifts for the newborn. In the Eastern world of the time it was inconceivable that anyone would present themselves to an elevated person without some gift. They would bring whatever they could get their hands on: some lamb, cheese, butter, milk, cottage cheese... 

 Surely it is not too much of a mistake to imagine the scene as it is represented in the innumerable "cribs" of these days and as it is proclaimed in the "carols" sung with simplicity by the Christian people and with which many of us, perhaps, have made our prayer.

Mary and Joseph, surprised and joyful, invite the shy shepherds to come in and see the Child, and kiss him and sing to him, and leave their gifts near the manger.

We too cannot go to the grotto of Bethlehem without our gift.

Perhaps what Our Lady would thank us for is a soul more surrendered, cleaner, more joyful because it is aware of its divine filiation, better disposed through a more contrite Confession, so that the Lord may dwell more fully in us. That Confession that perhaps God has been waiting for a long time?

Mary and Joseph are inviting us to enter. And, once inside, we say to Jesus with the Church: King of the universe whom the shepherds found wrapped in swaddling clothes, help us always to imitate your poverty and simplicity

Hablar con Dios