GOD’S ONLY begotten Son, the Second Person in the Blessed Trinity, came to us once in time, born of a woman, born as an infant, a baby lying in a manger. It has always fascinated me to think and re-think why Jesus, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, decided to “enter this world” as a helpless, innocent, cute little baby.
Why did He not come as an adult? As a grown-up man? Given that He came as a Saviour, a Redeemer… let’s say “something” like a superhero, as we are accustomed to seeing in movies. Like an Incredible Hulk, or a Spiderman. They come big, they come with full strength and a lot of bang and pomp as they attempt to “do good to others and save them.”
Speaking of adults, superheroes like noisy introduction and blaring entrance… as they say, dramatic entrance. So much so that they indeed call attention to themselves. Adult superheroes cannot be silent, albeit, they do not like a silent and tranquil entrance. They want it big, they want it great, they want grandeur, sometimes to the point of being scary and terrible, if only to make that impression of power so that the enemy, and those that are being “saved,” are themselves surprised and overwhelmed.
Without the noise and the pomposity/ grandeur, they seem not to feel “super” and “heroes.” They seem not to be powerful and able to save if they do not come with thunder, rumblings, flashing of lightning, brilliant sparkling and almost blinding light, the scary music and the impressive scenario. Aaah, we are so used to this “adult-antic” that anyone who wishes to be great and seen as a someone “super” has to have a very strong appearance, an explosive manifestation, a color and sound that attract attention and impress awe and even fear!
Adult superheroes do not tolerate silence. To be silent and meek for them is cotangent with being weak. They do not win silently, they make a big, big noise to show that they are victorious, or that they accomplish something great: fireworks display, twinkling lights, loud and well-lit billboards, tarps, posters of all colours and flags, buntings and loud speakers in festive music, glare and blare may accompany the arrival or departure of someone considered a hero or a great performer.
Jesus chose to be born as a babe in Bethlehem, a quiet child in tranquility yet divinely graceful. No fanfare and noise, not in bravado and vibrancy but in that sweet charm of a silent baby, helpless seemingly even, an infant who “can’t even harm a fl y…” Why? Because he came not to inflict harm or hurt, nor to destroy, he simply came to live like us but to save us in love and understanding. Babies indeed come into this world helpless and silent. Oh yes, you might say they also cry and make noise… but that is because, if I know right, only after the doctor has slapped his bottom or given it a jolt and cleaning in the mouth, that it cries in response to what was done to him.
Jesus came in the silence of the night (that is what we mean by that age-old song in Christmas, “Stille nacht”) with no intention to scar and impress, because he did not come to inflict pain, to kill or harm anyone. He came simply because he was one with His Father… who so loved the world, that he gave His Son to us (John 3:16). He came to love and to save, not to condemn, not to judge, but to teach us the way to love. He did not create any noise, but he moved hearts with his actions and words, calmly. He did not come amidst shouting with an array of escorts and cohorts of warriors, because His Kingdom is “not of this world” (John 18:36). But… there was an attempt of fanfare on His birth… three wise men from the East, who were in their full regalia bearing precious gifts, came to see him, but when they saw Him, they fell silent on their knees and adored him and offered him what they had (Matthew 2:11). The wise men were so overwhelmed by the presence of a King and Saviour, in the humble and silent way of a babe in a manger, that they too in silence adored him.
He came as a meek child because he came to show compassion and mercy, not anger, rage or violence. He did not come for bloodshed, but he came to shed his blood. Remember, this silent baby grew into a calm and peaceful young man, fulfilling His mission to save us, but again, not through show of strength, but by dying like a weak individual, nailed to the cross. He kept to His word to be silent, as a lamb being brought to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7), carrying His cross to His death on Calvary. He kept silent, no fanfare, no show of anger, no swing of the sword or great power to inflict harm… but silently walking, calmly and peacefully to His death on the cross. Who were noisy and making loud cheering and jeering? The adults who were surrounding him, crying for His blood, shouting in victory and triumph over their kill, they were the ostentatious ones. The adults were making jubilant, raucous noise over the death of the Peaceful, Silently Loving God.
My Christmas will be silent, not colourful, bereft of flamboyance and display, because Jesus is reminding me of the reason He came… He came to be merciful, loving, and compassionate. He came not to be angry with me, not to scold me, but to show me the way to live and the way to Him. I will not be swayed by the loud noise and the glee away from Him who is my reason to be and whom I wish to be with. I shall walk with him as the WAY; I shall know and cherish Him as the TRUTH; and I shall rejoice with Him as my LIFE. I shall follow him in His own silent but determined and strong way. In my heart, He will be “born” again.
Merry Christmas, one and all!
(I am ceding this space for this beautiful Christmas refl ection of E. G. Reyes.)