At Christmas time many years ago, during the Korean war, an old priest was visiting the wounded. He came upon a very young soldier whose spine had been shattered by a bullet. He was lying face down in a canvas cradle. A round hole was cut in the bottom of the cradle for his face. But all he could see was the floor. Thousand of miles from home, and fearing he’d never walk again, he felt utterly alone, cut off from all the world as he stared at that floor hour after hour. He talked to the priest in hushed tones, and then after awhile, he asked softly, “Father, could I see your face? I feel so alone. It would help me a lot, if I could just see your face a little while.”
And so, carefully, with creaking joints, the old priest got down on his knees, then over on his back, and ever so slowly inched his way under the cradle till at last the boy could see him — face to face — and know for a little while that he wasn’t alone.
That’s what we’ve always longed for as we stumble through the cold and the dark, trying to find our way. We long to see our Father face to face and to know for sure we’re not alone. We long for his warmth, his light, and his strength. And now on this holy night, our deepest longing is fulfilled and our dream has come true. For as we look upon that tiny face in the manger, we know at last what God is really like: He’s the one who loves us with a love beyond all telling, and he holds nothing back.
As we see this child and as we know the man he’ll become, we know in our hearts we’ll never be alone or cold or afraid again. For God’s son Jesus, our brother Jesus, has come to light our darkness, to warm our coldness, and to show us the way home!
So on this Christmas feast we celebrate and we sing with the angels: Glory to God! Glory to God in the highest!
Monsignor Dennis Clark, Ph.D