Isaiah 45:6b-8, 18, 21b-25
I don’t have children myself, so I can’t speak of this from personal experience. But I can imagine what a parent must feel when their beloved child–for whom they have given all love, all care, all worry, all devotion-looks upon and treats them as a stranger. To be disregarded or unknown by the one you created out of the breath of your own existence must be a pain that is very intense.
In a historical sense, of course, the first reading is a record of the journey of the Israelites in committing to being a one-God centered people. But the reading is also an impassioned testament from God who reveals in the fullest of ways all that He has done and created for His people: I form the light, and create the darkness…Let the earth open and salvation bud forth; let justice also spring up! I, the LORD, have created this. God’s creation and His gifts are rich beyond our wildest reckoning!
And then, what additional gift can God possibly give us as a testimony to His immeasurable, passionate, crazy, enveloping love for us, His children? We, who fall away, get distracted, feel neglected, tend towards doubt, rail pitifully and settle into apathy? He gives us His Son, His only Son.
It’s as if God is saying: Can you hear me now?
The good news-and there is good news-is that the message is getting through. In the Gospel we see the Prophet John alerting his disciples to the reality that something dramatic is happening, that the one they have been waiting for has perhaps arrived. God is no longer "out there" pulling the cosmic strings but He is among us, He is one of us. And He loves us dearly, even unto death.
As we move toward Christmas, what else can our hearts do but open up and receive the love that God has given us so generously, so abundantly, in the birth of the baby Jesus? We know the pain that is to come for Him, but for this moment, let’s simply rejoice in the beauty of this wondrous child, this tender being, who will change the course of the world with the flick of His tiny finger.
Nancy Nickel is director of communications at the Passionist Development Office in Chicago.