When I was in Rome recently, we visited a lot of churches and cathedrals. In one of the churches, a unique version of the nativity scene was on display behind a glass front. In this display, you had to search for the manger scene. Most of the display showed people pursuing their everyday activities, some good, some not so good. In the midst of all of the comings and goings of humanity, seemingly oblivious to God’s activity in their lives, God was there, if you looked closely. God was entering into all of this activity with a new vision, a new meaning for humanity, but you could not see it unless you paid attention and took the time to reflect and pray.
Mary and Joseph entered Bethlehem, and the inn was full. There was no room for the one who would give new life. Jesus was born outside the village, and only poor shepherds and a few others heard the call to come and see this new beginning of hope that God was offering to the world. The humble way that God chose to enter this world – as a fragile infant, was not what people were expecting. God came silently, ever so gently, not with thunder and lightning, but as one of us. God came as the bearer of love to all which would culminate in the greatest act of love, the outpouring of life on the cross. This is the message of Christmas – God’s love comes to us in ways we might least expect, like a tiny babe in a manger or a man dying on a cross, but which in the end give our lives the fullest meaning.
FR. STEVE BOLAND, MSC (Aurora Community)
Father Steve professed his first vows on September 14, 1982 and was ordained on October 25, 1986. He is working in Aurora, Illinois as Superior of our Illinois Community and Provincial Secretary and Treasurer.