The message of Christmas is the greatest story ever told: “a Child is born to us, and a son is given to us” (Isaiah 9:6). And that Child is God, born of Mary ever-virgin, a maiden espoused to a man named Joseph, the humble carpenter of Nazareth. The glory of the universe has come unto us through the most extraordinary, humble means. The message of birth is always an occasion for joy, but what greater joy could there be than the message of the birth of God amongst men! For joy of this birth the angels sang, echoing over the hills of Bethlehem, a Gloria in Excelsis Deo, and the message: “For this day is born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you: You shall find the Infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.” In the Introit of the third Christmas Mass we read: “A Child is born to us, and a son is given to us.” The Christ Child is born for our salvation. He is the Son of God! He is given to us—what a gift at Christmas!
Our troubles at Christmas time in a war-ridden world are more tumultuous to us than the raging seas, but I wonder if God does not see another side. You may say, what could be more grave than the suicidal act of war, brother killing brother? Does God ridicule our ills, our prayers as petty and worthless by letting this onslaught of bloodshed continue? No! But God can see the ultimate end of it all—that good shall triumph after the world has been scourged at the pillar of suffering and has crucified its own pride and sensuality. For we are but children to God; yes, children of a larger growth, and what matters it all if we are purged of our selfishness, our waywardness, our sinfulness here, so long as we gain the victory over our lower impulses and win life eternal?
Could nature talk to us on a beautiful night as the stars twinkle in the heavens and bombers block out momentarily the light of the moon, she would say to us, that which is small in you, you are magnifying, and that which is great in you, you are minimizing. Your destiny lies beyond the stars, beyond the moon, beyond the earth. Your short span of earthly existence is so unimportant as compared with your eternal destiny that you are foolish to take anything serious in life except the saving of your immortal soul. If the oxen in the cave of Bethlehem could only speak, these beasts of burden would tell us that we would find Christ in a humble cave of the Holy Family and not in the inn of the world. If nature, against whose starry background the bombers fly and upon whose bosom of the sea the ships and submarines sport in war, could but utter a word, all the elements of creation would all sing, “Glory to God!” and lament “Oh, pitiful man! How foolish are you who war in frenzied hate!”