The Roman Rite for this Christmas week has a lovely verse to be said at prayer,
When peaceful silence lay over all, and the night had run half of her swift course, your all-powerful word, O Lord, leaped down from heaven, from the royal throne.
I love and imagine the almost hushed tones that this is spoken in. Reverence and awe are the two words that come to my mind.
But what about when the world is full not of peaceful silence, but of chaos and calamity? Would God’s word still appear? Would God still leap from the royal throne to intervene?
If I were to depict the birth of Jesus as happening today, I’d probably have Jesus being born in downtown Chicago, or perhaps just west of the loop, or perhaps on Cermak in Chinatown.
I’d have car horns blaring, car alarms going off, and random shouts in the street. I’d have sirens racing by to head to this park or that where a scuffle has erupted.
Or maybe Jesus would be born in Rogers Park or Edgewater. Maybe Jesus would be born in the back alley of Lincoln Square, in the shadow of the trendy Goosefoot with nowhere to lay his head but an old vegetable crate as Mary ponders her next move and Joseph heads around the corner to try and scrounge up enough change for a room at the Diplomat Motel up on Lincoln.
I love the peaceful nature of the Christmas story. But I need Jesus most when all is not peaceful.
Perhaps this is something to ponder this Christmas season: how can we, as bearers of Christ, bring the idyllic peace of Christ that the Nativity story evokes into situations where peace isn’t present?
Questions for reflection: When do you need God the most? Can you name a specific situation where God was needed but hard to find? What tangible way can you bring Christ into a crisis?