At Christmas


By Frank Wessling

In the beginning there was Jesus, and nothing has been the same since.
That could be a summary of Christian faith, our faith.
There was something before Jesus, certainly. Important human history preceded him, including significant faith. But in Jesus all that is human was, and is, liberated from human limits.
We remember this every year at Christmas time as if waking from sleep again. So-called normal life has us plodding along working only for ourselves, head down and determined to get ahead. Then we look up and look around, put up lights and notice each other fresh.
The sometimes garish and extravagant display of Christmas lighting on our homes is an eruption of hope. Yes, there is darkness, but that is not the end.
Jesus, the one we exalt, was an infant just like all of us. The Evangelists tell us that he arrived in helpless poverty and while in that condition was still greater than the powers of the world. Herod could not kill him and the wisest men were in awe of him.
The story of him, our Gospel, places a woman at the center of new power. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was asked to turn herself over completely to mystery. There was a promise of unimaginable new life, but the reality for her was still mystery.
“How can this be?” she asked sensibly. Then, let it be.

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