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Finding Jesus in the Manger

Finding Jesus in the Manger

The shepherds who found Jesus on that first Christmas night knew they were in the right place because when they followed the angel’s directions, they found ‘a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger’.  What else was there, though, about that tiny newborn babe that convinced them beyond all doubt that he was Christ the Lord?  What was it that moved their hearts to become the first evangelists, as they headed back to their fields ‘glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen’?

And then, in the Temple in Jerusalem, what was it about the baby Jesus that enabled Simeon to recognise him, that moved him to take him in his arms and sing God’s praises?

Sometimes, I find myself wishing that I could have been there, to see Jesus in the flesh; not only at the incarnation, but throughout his earthly life.  What was it about him that inspired others to leave everything and follow him?

I recently discovered that Teresa of Avila would have been laughing at me for holding this attitude.  James McCaffrey writes ‘the Lord had given her such living faith that when she heard some persons saying that they would like to have lived at the time Christ our Good walked in the world, she used to laugh to herself.  She wondered what more they wanted since in the most Blessed Sacrament they had him just as truly present as he was then.[1]

We, who live in the Anno Domini era, we are the blessed ones who have the Lord with us always.  The joy of the shepherds and the wonder and gratitude of Simeon are ours too as we behold the child in the manger and reflect that in Christ our Eucharist, he is ‘just as truly present as he was then’.

Let our prayer be, then, that the joy of the shepherds and the wonder and gratitude of Simeon is ours not only this Christmas but always… and ours to share.


[1]James McCaffrey OCD, Captive Flames, p.19.  For more of Teresa’s views on this, see Way of Perfection ch.34

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