Blog # 417 Christmas 2
I have heard it said that one of the greatest dangers to a happy growing and lasting marriage
relationship is for the partners to take one another for granted rather then daily discovering one another again and again ever more deeply as the years of their marriage go on. In a similar vein, years ago when I was teaching a class on marriage, the class came up with this definition of fidelity in marriage: I will try to keep myself as attractive to you as when you first discovered. me.
This year it occurred to me to apply these insights on marriage to our celebration of the birth of Jesus. Trying to look back on it I imagined I first discovered Jesus as attractive about eighty years ago when I jumped out of bed and ran downstairs on a Christmas morning and found the Lionel trains all set up on the parlor floor and presents laid out around the room for everyone in the family.
Now in 2014 for many of our families the same beautiful artificial tree will be taken in from the garage and set up in the parlor with the same strings of lights wrapped around it, the same decorations hung on its limbs, and the same beautiful angel presiding over it from its peak. All of this will be good and make a meaningful celebration in the family. Pictures will be taken and stored with those of other years, and in a couple of weeks Christmas will be put away until next year.
The decorations and parties, yes, but let's not put the event of Christmas behind us. When a baby is born in a normal human family the event of the baby's birth is the beginning of an eternal relationship that is designed by God to grow and develop. So it should be with the birth of the divine Word of God on earth as Jesus, close to two thousand years ago in history and currently in our official public liturgical celebration of Christmas in 2014. The baby Jesus will grow and live among us as God and as one of us, in our private prayers, our family prayer, and in our official public liturgical celebration of His life and love for us, again as we have known it before, and in new ways that are still to be created this coming year.
As with the case of a newly married couple and that of another man and wife married for fifty years, a power-laden and beautiful question they are entitled and called to ask of one another every day is how can I know you better and love you more. We Baptized believers are united with Jesus in a way He Himself described as that of branches on a vine. We share the life of that vine with the vine itself and with the other branches on the vine, which is the Church. Certainly we are entitled and called to ask of Jesus and of one another how can I know you better and love you more.
If that were to occur , the event of Christmas would not be put away in the garage with the tree the lights and the decorations.