So often we look for God in the wrong places! When the shepherds raised their eyes to the heavens, the angelic host drew their eyes back downwards to an infant nestled in the straw. In the strangest of ironies the God whom we seek is not above, but rather below – Immanuel – God with us! In the Manger of Bethlehem, even the cattle and sheep look down upon the creator of the heavens, the one who fashioned the beasts of the earth! Shepherds and royal visitors bend low to glimpse God. He is cradled in our midst, almost hidden from us for he is found in unexpected places. The Magi followed a star… they looked to the heavens for signs to map their course, but the true light of the world, their heart’s destination, their journey’s end was cradled in straw down below.
God has indeed pitched his tent among us, the word was indeed made flesh. God reveals himself in the helpless form of an infant babe. The infant child is born displaced from his father’s town and people, rejected by the innkeeper, pushed outside the city walls, huddling for heat from the warmth of animals in a drafty stable! His birth went all but unnoticed by humanity except the shepherds (society’s rejects, the nobodies who lived in the caves). He pitched his tent among the poor and defenceless. It is in our poverty and our defencelessness that we find him today. As our we begin this holiday period, free from the worries and cares of work and the wrold, we ask for the grace to catch a glimpse of the real wonder of Christmas the glory of our God-with-us, who comes into our midst as one of us, so that we can become more like God.