On that very first Christmas so many years ago, there were no noisy parties, no festivities, and no crowded celebrations.
There was a very tired husband taking care of his patient and very pregnant wife who had, in spite of her advanced pregnancy, travelled the long distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem with him. After the long and arduous journey, there was no room for them at the inn to rest. In a simple manger, the Word of God was born.
I imagine how exhausted Mary and Joseph must have been. I imagine how they must have gazed upon our Lord’s little face in silent awe and wonderment. Who is this child who is to be the saviour of the world? How can this tiny, beautiful, helpless little baby be God’s answer to an aching world?
The manger must have been filled with profound love and joy that holy night: the love and joy of a family who were gentle, poor in spirit, and rich in reverence for God. The kind of love and joy that is so deep and transcendent that it can only be expressed in silent adoration.
With the birth of Jesus, the Holy Family’s journey has only just begun. Many things will happen that Joseph & Mary will not understand. Their faith will be tested time and again. They will be bewildered and frustrated at events and prophecies that they have no understanding of. The fullness of all that lay ahead of them in their life with Christ was planted as a seed in their hearts in the silence of that first Christmas night.
Every year, my Christmastime is filled with gatherings and activities with family and friends. This year, instead of staying up late with family or attending a crowded midnight Christmas mass, Henry and I decided to spend the hour before midnight in silence and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at the Catholic Spirituality Centre in Punggol. We entered the silence with an opening prayer before we began the 30 min drive in the rain. I remembered Mary & Joseph’s journey during the silent drive, and in the quiet chapel at CSC, we adored Christ as they did in that little manger in Bethlehem.
The rest of the coming week will be filled with busy gatherings once again. Tonight’s silence and solitude was special. Only time will reveal what seed has been planted in us today.