Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Greatest Gift

The Christmas season ended officially yesterday with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. We share here thoughts from Abbot Damian's homily for the Solemnity of the Epiphany. He invited us to reflect on all the characters and scenes that were part of the Christmas story.  

Throughout Advent, Isaiah offered his prophecy and vision of endless peace.
The angels offered their songs of praise and message of good news.
The shepherds offered their wonder and curiosity, as well as their status as homeless field workers and outcasts.
The heavens offered a star, a guiding light.
The inn offered a closed door: no openness, no welcome, and no vacancy.
The earth offered a manger and a feed trough.
Mary offered her “yes”, her “Let it be with me according to your word”. She offered her pondering and treasuring.
Joseph offered his presence and his guardianship and protection; along with a home and security, as well as his silence and listening trust.
King Herod offered his fear, anger, and violence.
The parents of the slaughtered innocents offered their grief and sorrow, their brokenness and unfulfilled futures.
The Magi, along with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, they offered their searching, longing, and desire for something beyond and greater than themselves.

The whole world has been moved and affected by Jesus’ birth.  All of creation has offered something. We cannot exclude ourselves. We must have the courage to own and offer our own “stuff” – good, bad, indifferent. Whatever we bring to the Child and his Mother is our means of participating in the divine birth. What we offer speaks the truth of our own life, which is now God’s life. And the greatest gift in the whole story is the one this Child offers us – Himself.

Photograph by Brother Anthony Khan.