He comes among us in silence and in the dark of night, because the word of God needs no spotlights or loud human voices. He is Himself the Word that gives life its meaning, He is the Light that brightens our path. “The true light, which enlightens everyone”—the Gospel tells us—”was coming into the world” (John 1:9).
Jesus is born in our midst; He is God with us. He comes to accompany our daily lives, to share with us in all things: our joys and sorrows, our hopes and fears. He comes as a helpless child. He is born in the cold night, poor among the poor. In need of everything, He knocks at the door of our heart to find warmth and shelter.
Like the shepherds of Bethlehem, surrounded by light, may we set out to see the sign that God has given us. May we overcome our spiritual drowsiness and the shallow holiday glitter that makes us forget the One Whose birth we are celebrating. Let us leave behind the hue and din that deadens our hearts and makes us spend more time in preparing decorations and gifts than in contemplating the great event: the Son of God born for us.
Brothers and sisters, let us turn our eyes to Bethlehem, and listen to the first faint cries of the Prince of Peace. For truly Jesus is our peace. The peace that the world cannot give, the peace that God the Father has bestowed on humanity by sending His Son into the world. Saint Leo the Great summed up the message of this day in a concise Latin phrase: Natalis Domini, natalis est pacis: “the Lord’s birth is the birth of peace” (Sermon 26, 5).
Jesus Christ is also the way of peace. By His incarnation, passion, death and resurrection, He has opened the way that leads from a world closed in on itself and oppressed by the dark shadows of enmity and war, to a world that is open and free to live in fraternity and peace. Brothers and sisters, let us follow that road! Yet in order to do so, to be able to walk behind Jesus, we must divest ourselves of the burdens that weigh us down and block our way.
What are those burdens? What is that dead weight? The same negative forces that prevented King Herod and his court from acknowledging and welcoming the birth of Jesus: attachment to power and money, pride, hypocrisy, falsehood. These forces hold us back from going to Bethlehem; they exclude us from the grace of Christmas and they block the entrance to the path of peace. Indeed, we must acknowledge with sorrow that, even as the Prince of Peace is given to us, the icy winds of war continue to buffet humanity.
If we want it to be Christmas, the Birth of Jesus and of peace, let us look to Bethlehem and contemplate the face of the Child Who is born for us! And in that small and innocent face, let us see the faces of all those children who, everywhere in the world, long for peace….
Dear brothers and sisters, today as then, Jesus, the true light, comes into a world severely sick with indifference, a world that does not welcome Him (cf. John 1:11) and indeed rejects Him, as it does with many foreigners, or ignores Him, as we all too often do with the poor. Today may we not forget the many displaced persons and refugees who knock at our door in search of some comfort, warmth, and food. Let us not forget the marginalized, those living alone, the orphans, the elderly—who are wisdom for their people—who risk being set aside, and prisoners, whom we regard solely for the mistakes they have made and not as our fellow men and women.
Brothers and sisters, Bethlehem shows us the simplicity of God, Who reveals Himself not to the wise and the intelligent but to the little ones, to those with a pure and open heart (cf. Matthew 11:25). Like the shepherds, let us too set out in haste and allow ourselves to be amazed by the unthinkable event of God Who becomes man for our salvation. He, the source of all good, makes Himself poor, asking as alms our own poor humanity. Let us allow ourselves to be deeply moved by the love of God. And let us follow Jesus, Who stripped Himself of His glory in order to give us a share in His fullness.
“Today, when the light of Jesus’ birth is illuminating the entire world, in a special way, with Jesus in my arms, I am praying that every heart becomes a stable of Bethlehem, in which my Son will be born, so that your lives become a light of His birth. Little children, you live in peacelessness and fear. That is why, little children, today, on this day of grace, implore Jesus to strengthen your faith and to become the ruler of your lives; because, my children, only with Jesus in your lives will you not be looking at peacelessness but praying for peace and will live in peace; and you will not be looking at fear but at Jesus Who frees us of all fears. I am your Mother who ceaselessly keeps vigil over you and I am blessing you with my Motherly blessing.” -Our Lady of Medjugorje, in private revelation given to Jakov Colo, on December 25, 2022
“Mary treasures in her heart the words that come from God, and, piecing them together as in a mosaic, learns to understand them. Let us too, at her school, learn to become attentive and docile disciples of the Lord. With her motherly help, let us commit ourselves to working enthusiastically in the ‘workshop’ of peace, following Christ, the Prince of Peace. After the example of the Blessed Virgin, may we let ourselves be guided always and only by Jesus Christ, Who is the same yesterday, today, and for ever! (Hebrews 13:8). Amen.” -Pope Benedict XVI
The Holy Spirit, in private revelation given to Maria Valtorta:
For if God had proposed the future Christ to Adam and if Adam had received the request from God to adore the Word Incarnate out of love and thanks to the Love, he would not have been able to refuse to adore the true Compendium of the Triune Love, because otherwise, he would have been guilty of the same sin as Lucifer who had become Satan for having refused to adore the Love made flesh, proudly claiming of being capable of redeeming man himself by being similar to God in substance, power, wisdom, and beauty, instead of being similar to Him as an entity, and thus particularly offending the Holy Spirit, Giver of the lights, wisdom, and truths contained in God. And the sins against the Holy Spirit, of which Lucifer and his like in rebellion are guilty, as in many men, are not forgiven.
God wanted to forgive man. And for this reason, He proposed the test of obedience. However, He spared him the test of adoration for the Word made Man in order that Adam would not sin in an unforgivable manner by envying the power of Christ, by having the presumption of being able to save himself and being able to save without the need of Christ, by denying the known truth as impossible that the Uncreated One could become “created” by being born of a woman, and that the Purest Spirit Who is God could make Himself man by assuming human flesh.
Not you. You who are redeemed by Christ, you who having come after the advent of Christ, and above all, after the sacrifice of Christ, comprehend all the love of God. Christ has revealed this infinite love to you with Himself, with His word, with His example, and with His actions.
You gaze at the baby Christ crying in a grotto and you are not frightened. Rather, that human weakness draws your spiritual weakness which is not disheartened nor frightened before the Infant God, the God Who has annihilated Himself, He, the Immense One, into little members, He, the Powerful One, into members in need of all kinds of help for they are incapable, in any case, of providing for the needs of the body.
You gaze at the boy Jesus and you are not frightened. His wisdom is sweet. With a few words, He indicates to you the sure path in order to reach the House of the Father, “To busy oneself with that which God wills and with that which is to be given to God.” The entire law is in this brief and wise answer. He says to you, speaking to those who represent the chosen humanity and are dear to God, “Do you not know that you must do this, only this, this above every other occupation, to have this love above every other love, so as to have a place in Heaven?”
And all of the teachings of Christ are in these brief words, the Christ Who says to Martha, “You busy yourself with too many things, one only is necessary” (see Luke 10:41-42). The Christ Who says to the disciple who is still too attached to the things of the world, “Let the dead bury their dead” (see Matthew 8:22), and again, “Whoever after having put his hand to the plough and [who] looks back, is not fit for the Kingdom of God” (see Luke 9:62).
The Christ, Who by loving His Mother with perfection, does not place her before His mission but clearly says that it “is His blood he who does the will of God” (see Mark 3:35), and He is the first to do so because love towards God is always, dutifully, the greatest respect above any other love, even of the one for the most holy blessed Mother.
“Dear children! Today I am carrying my Son Jesus to you, that you may be His peace and a reflection of the clarity and joy of Heaven. Pray, little children, to be open to receive peace because many hearts are closed to the call of the light which changes hearts. I am with you and am praying for you to open yourselves to receive the King of peace, Who fills your hearts with warmth and blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call.” -Our Lady of Medjugorje, in private revelation given to Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti, on December 25, 2022