Monday, December 9, 2013

December 9 - Advent Devotional 2013

Monday, 9 December 2013

The scene of the Nativity of Jesus has been prolific throughout the ages. It has inspired painters, writers and musicians to create magnificent works of art that have become an intrinsic part of our Christmas tradition. The vibrancy of Handel's "Messiah", the individuality of "The Adoration of the Shepherds" by Murillo, the pageantry of "The Adoration of the Magi" by Di Farbriano, the simplicity of The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, are monumental achievements of the human soul to manifest the greatest event of all times -- the birth of Jesus Christ.

It is true that the majority of us are not capable of creating such masterpieces. Yet, all of us can experience the birth of Jesus within our hearts. We are also capable of extending this experience to others in many different ways. The core of the Christmas season falls upon the simple Nativity scene: the glorious rapture of the shepherds, the angels singing, the King's paying homage to a child. A child who forever changed the destiny of mankind. This experience can and should bring depth and meaning to our life.

The celebration of Jesus' birth is called Christmas or "Cristes maesse" which means Mass of Christ. For many this is a wonderful season filled with hope and expectations. It is a season filled with laughter, joy, love of family and friendships. We are so enthralled by the magic of the season that we become oblivious to the loneliness and the sadness that others bear.

But, if the divine radiance of the newborn Child is to affect and touch our lives, we cannot set aside or forget the lonely, the sad, the homeless. These are not some distant people that we cannot reach. They live in our midst. They are our friends, our neighbors, our family. How often we tend to ignore or not realize that the one's closest to us are the one's that are experiencing loneliness, sadness and despair. How perceptive we need to be to observe and act upon these carefully guarded feelings. We cannot permit indifference to their pain to cast a shadow over the true meaning of Christmas.

Christmas is discovering within ourselves that we are capable of love, forgiveness and compassion. It is recognizing that we have been blessed with many gifts and therefore, we must reach out and touch the lives of those who are alone. Then we shall be able to celebrate. Then our creative spirit will soar. Then and only then our masterpiece shall be rendered.

Our masterpiece is allowing the Nativity scene to permeate our life. Our masterpiece is reaching unto others, bringing comfort and happiness. Our masterpiece is the capability of taking the sublime from a simple Nativity scene and making it the central force of our life.

Source: Christmas Masterpiece, by Dorothy Riera

Photo: "Adoration of the Shepherds" by Gerard van Honthorst, 1622

View all Advent Devotional 2013 posts here.

© 2013, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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