By Donna Orsuto, director
During the Christmas liturgy, we will hear the words, “Behold, the Virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us’” (Mt 1:23). The 12th-century Cistercian monk Aelred of Rievaulx reminds us that with the birth of Jesus we can truly affirm that “God is indeed with us.”*
… Today Emmanuel, today God is with us.
He is with us in our nature,
with us in his grace;
He is with us in our weakness,
with us in his kindness;
He is with us in our wretchedness,
with us in his mercy,
He is with us in charity,
with us in loving care,
with us in affection,
with us in compassion.
O Emmanuel, O God with us!
This is the gift we celebrate this Christmas. Wherever you are in the world, whatever you are doing, whether you are happy or sad, busy or bored, delighted or depressed, stop for a moment, gaze at the Christ Child, and consider the sheer immensity of God’s gift to you.
He brings a love that knows no bounds. He brings a love that is faithful from the womb to the tomb. He brings a love that reaches to every corner of the world and especially to those who are suffering: those in hospitals, in war-torn zones, in situations of dire need.
Know that today, Emmanuel, God is with you. Do not doubt His presence.
He came as a baby more than 2,000 years ago and He is coming now to you, this Christmas, if you but welcome him in your heart.
Stop for a moment, gaze at the Christ Child, and consider the sheer immensity of God's gift to you and to all humanity. Welcome Him now and He will bring you his light, his peace, and his joy, wherever you are, whatever you are doing.
*Aelred of Rievaulx, The Liturgical Sermons, The Durham and Lincoln Collections, Sermons 47-84 (Collegeville: A Cistercian Publication/Liturgical Press, 2018), Sermon 57, p. 130.