“Sweet little Jesus boy, / Born in a manger, / Sweet little holy Child, / We didn’t know who you was.”
The revelation of the second person of the Holy Trinity has come. John 1 happened before our eyes: The Word became flesh. Let us imitate the oxen and come to the trough to feed. Rather than hay, we eat the manna from heaven. Panis angelicus fit panis hominum. The bread of angels becomes the bread of men.
Like Christ we ought to hang on Mary’s neck; like Mary we ought to bring Christ to the world. Isaiah comforts Israel, “Be joyful with Jerusalem and rejoice for her, all you who love her; / Be exceedingly glad with her, all you who mourn over her, / That you may nurse and be satisfied with her comforting breasts, / That you may suck and be delighted with her bountiful bosom.” Like the savior let us take comfort in Mary our mother. Like Mary let us give birth to new life and salvation for all.
Even if it did not entail salvation for us, the incarnation would provide cause enough for rejoicing. We exult when a person of fame, wealth, or power visits our town. How much more should we exult when the King of the Universe takes on our frame and visits our world. We rejoice when an uncle or niece receives honor. How much more should we be delighted that Christ has become our brother. The angels do not have the honor of kinship with the Almighty that we have. God never took on the form of a cherub or seraph. He took on the form of man, a lowlier creature.
Not only does God take on our flesh, but he also joins it to his divine nature. He makes mankind one with Himself through his Son. This holy baby will conquer the world, the flesh, and the devil at Easter. The infant wears the crown. He will defeat death by death. His mother will crush the head of the serpent.
This baby is the strength of the martyrs, the zeal of the prophets, the purity of the virgins, the wisdom of the elders, and the joy of all his saints. Young and old come to worship the infant. Men and women come to laud the little boy. Wise and foolish come to learn from Wisdom himself. Jews and Gentiles come to see the Light of the world. Patriarchs and prophets come to taste the fulfillment of their desires.
The Mystery of the Nativity foreshadows the Paschal Mystery in which the priest is the sacrifice and the sinless God offers himself for the sinful man. As Mary is faithful to her child, she undoes Eve’s faithlessness to Adam. Mary’s “yes” to the angel reverses Eve’s “yes” to the demon. In this Christmastide let us say with Mary, “Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum,” “Let it be done to me according to your word.”