Herod hides in the hearts not only of those who openly plot harm against Christ but of those who bear the name Christian. “Bring me word that I too may pay him homage” (Matt. 2:8). This more hidden and secret violence is often vested in the language of deep interest and debate. Earnest God-talk and churchly worry is a dangerous thing. “Do not they know what they are discussing? How can they make it an open question what the country is like, which they enter when they pray?” (Austin Farrer, Lord I Believe, p. 9). There is, of course, an inner family humor, a joyful self-criticism of the landscape and characters of Christian faith. We should laugh often, and thankfully we do. There is also a genuine sorrow in knowing parts of the Christian present and past, in others and in ourselves. All this may be admitted within the embrace of love, bonds of affection toward Christ and his holy Church. How do we know that our homage is true? Look for these signs: overwhelming joy, the bended knee, and, most significantly, open treasure chests spilling all praise (Matt. 2:11).
|Jer. 31:17-14 • Ps. 84 or Ps. 84:1-8
Eph. 1:3-6, 15-19a • Matt. 2:13-15, 19-23
or Luke 2:41-52 or Matt. 2:1-12
The story of the holy child is an event of incredible joy, in precisely this way the prophet preached long ago: “Sing aloud with gladness, raise shouts, proclaim and give praise” (Jer. 31:7). “They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall become like a watered garden, and they shall never languish again. Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and old shall be merry” (31:12-13). The epicenter of this migration is Christ our Lord. In him these blessings flow. He is the grain, the wine, the oil, flocks and herds, the dance, and all merry-making. He is the radiance of full joy, for he is himself all fullness, grace upon grace (John 1:16). This can be known only in Christ the Beloved.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as children” (Eph. 1:3-5). God has acted in Christ “according to his good pleasure, to the praise of his glorious grace that he has freely bestowed in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:5-6). All these things must be treasured in the heart: good pleasure, glorious grace, freely bestowed. We are in Christ and the treasure of his fullness we own, but never deserve.
“As long as the all wise God was holding and keeping his counsel in secret, it seemed he neglected us and didn’t care. After he revealed his Beloved Son and showed what he has prepared from the beginning, and at the same time showed all this to us, to enjoy and see and understand his blessings — who would have expected this?” (Ex Epistula ad Diognetum, Cap. 8,5–9,5) The riches of our inheritance in Christ are deep and lavish, joyful and inexhaustible. It is here, in the treasure of Christ, that we live and move and have our being. With the eyes of our heart enlightened, we know the hope to which we are called, the riches of the saints, the immeasurable greatness of his power.
At this mystery, we bend the knee, and open the treasures that he himself gave us.
Look It Up
Read Luke 2:19. These things.
Think About It
Being and blessing.
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