Mon. Oct 19th, 2020

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I really love Christmas time. I love how everything goes from frenetic preparation to silence and stillness. I love how the world seems to stop so as to love. I pray that you and your family have a very peaceful and joy-filled Christmas. I hope that you celebrate for longer than a day. Please find a way to celebrate at least through Jan. 6, the feast of the Epiphany.
I would like to reflect on one dimension of Christmas that is often, if not usually, overlooked. Jesus emptied Himself and took on a complete human nature. He did that out of love for us; He did that so that He could die for our sins. But, sometimes I am struck by the radical poverty into which He was born. I mean He could have been born the son of a king or of a prince with wealth. He could have lived a fairly comfortable life prior to His passion, death and resurrection. Rather, He chose to be born poor. He was so poor that He was born in space used for keeping animals. His circumstance was so poor that He was placed in a feeding trough, a manger (here we see a prefiguration of the Eucharist, but that is a topic for another time).
What is Jesus trying to teach us by the circumstances of His birth? Maybe He is trying to show us that we have to detach ourselves from created things so that we can cling to the Creator. Maybe He is trying to show us how the Incarnation itself was impoverishment.
I think all of that is true, but I think He was also trying to help us see Him in the poor of our day. He shrouded His divinity in our humanity, and poverty.
Maybe He did so for the purpose of training our eyes to see Him in the poor. It is so easy to miss the dignity and beauty of the human person when it is dirty, smelly and with matted hair. Thank you Jesus for showing yourself to us in abject poverty. Help us to see YOU!
— Pat Arensberg is the Director of the Office for Evangelization and Family Life Email him at
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