We are called to prove in our own lives that Christ is born, that God is with us. But we are constantly in danger of going about our business without Christ. We keep to our old ways of life and do not allow God to enter our daily affairs.…We should never rest until all obstacles are cleared out of the way for him who is born to us, and who is to come. ~Johann Christopher Blumhardt, When The Time Was Fulfilled
How could [God] have shown his mercy more clearly than by taking on himself our condition? For our sake the Word of God became as grass. What better proof could he have given of his love? Scripture says: Lord, what is man that you are mindful of him; why does your heart go out to him? The incarnation teaches us how much God cares for us and what he thinks and feels about us. We should stop thinking of our own sufferings and remember what he has suffered. Let us think of all the Lord has done for us, and then we shall realize how his goodness appears through his humanity. The lesser he became through his human nature the greater was his goodness; the more he lowered himself for me, the dearer he is to me. The goodness and humanity of God our Savior have appeared, says the Apostle.
Truly great and manifest are the goodness and humanity of God. He has given us a most wonderful proof of his goodness by adding humanity to his own divine nature. ~From a sermon by St Bernard
In order to penetrate a whole human life with the divine life it is not enough to kneel once a year before the crib and let ourselves be captivated by the charm of the holy night. To achieve this, we must be in daily contact with God, listening to the words he has spoken and which have been transmitted to us, and obeying them. We must above all, pray as the Savior himself has taught us so insistently. “Ask and it shall be given you.” This is the certain promise of being heard. And if we pray every day with all our heart: “Lord, thy will be done,” we may well trust that we shall not fail to do God’s will even when we no longer have subjective certainty. ~Edith Stein, Writings of Edith Stein
There are many who are enkindled with dreamy devotion, and when they hear of the poverty of Christ, they are almost angry with the citizens of Bethlehem. They denounce their blindness and ingratitude, and think, if they had been there, they would have shown the Lord and his mother a more kindly service and would not have permitted them to be treated so miserably. But they do not look by their side to see how many of their fellow humans need their help, and which they ignore in their misery. Who is there upon earth that has no poor, miserable, sick, erring ones around him? Why does he not exercise his love to those? Why does he not do to them as Christ has done to him? ~Martin Luther quoted in Watch for the Light
Poor mothers, with your hoard
Of endless love and countless pain–
Remember all her grief, her gain,
The Mother of the Lord.
Mourners, half blind with woe,
Look up! One standeth in this place,
And by the pity of His face
The Man of Sorrows know.
Wanderers in far countrie,
O think of Him, who came, forgot,
To His own, and they received Him not–
Jesus of Galilee.
O all ye who have trod
The wine-press of affliction, lay
Your hearts before His heart this day–
Behold the Christ of God!
~ Dinah Maria Mulock Craik from “A Hymn for Christmas Morning” in Thirty Years: Being Poems New and Old
God must become the equal of the lowliest. But the lowliest is one who serves others. God therefore must appear in the form of a servant. But this servant’s form is not merely something he puts on, like the beggar’s cloak, which, because it is only a cloak, flutters loosely and betrays the king. No, it is his true form. For this is the unfathomable nature of boundless love, that it desires to be equal with the beloved; not in jest, but in truth. ~Soren Kierkegaard, Provocations
God’s will finds its simplest expression in the words: “Peace on earth.” God wants peace.…For this reason, our longing for peace should extend far beyond the time when guns are silent and we cease to kill each other. There is much, much more at stake. Human peace, in which the nations give up war “for a while,” is never enough. The peace of Christ is greater than all our understanding and cultural achievements; for even where we work hard for harmony, strife among us and in our families breaks out far too easily. What we need is deep-rooted reconciliation in Jesus Christ – God’s peace for us all, changing this earth into heaven. ~Christoph Blumhardt, When the Time Was Fulfilled
Our world is shaking, about to erupt. Demonic powers are storming the church, like autumn storms sweeping through the woods. We live in a time when people everywhere are agitated; the masses are confused as to what is true and what is false; and yet they are waiting for what is ultimately to come. And it shall come! ~Eberhard Arnold, When the Time was Fulfilled
There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.
For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honor and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.
A Child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam,
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost – how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky’s dome.
This world is wild as an old wives’ tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.
To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.