The Newborn Face of God

30 Dec 2013 by SHRCChurch, No Comments »

DSC_7507In the Old Testament Book of Psalms, the inspired Hebrew poet expresses in deeply felt words an ardent desire to see the face of God.  He writes: “O God, be gracious and bless us and let your face shine upon us” (67:1).

The universal cry of the human heart can be summed up in those haunting words of the psalmist: “Let your face shed its light upon us.”  On Christmas, we rejoice that God indeed has shed the light of His face upon us.  The invisible God, the God “without a face,” became visible to our eyes in the human face of Jesus.

In the words of Odo Casel, a prominent German theologian of the last century, “God came on earth as a human being and first revealed His human love in the human face of a little child.  He did not come in terrible majesty, in overwhelming light or in visible power and glory.  He came in weakness and impotence.”

The tiny face of a newborn child never ceases to amaze and to delight us.  A smile and a laugh come naturally to us in the presence of one so small and beautiful.  And when the face of the newborn is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, our response ought to be nothing less than a grateful heart.

In light of the joyful mystery of Our Lord’s nativity, should we be surprised that, on beholding the face of the Christ child in the Jerusalem temple, the aged Simeon, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, offered a prayer of thanksgiving to the God of Israel: “My eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples” (Lk 2:30-31)?

It is worth noting that in many classic depictions of the Christ child by renowned artists, the face of Jesus is bathed in a soft light.  The light reminds us of the supernatural.  The Christ child, though human, is unlike any other child born of a woman: The face of the child is the radiant face of God!

In the majestic words of the fourth evangelist: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, the glory as of a Father’s only son, full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14)

The late Bishop Fulton Sheen was awestruck by the novelty of the Christmas event.  He wrote: “It was the first time in the history of the world that anyone could think of heaven as anywhere else than ‘somewhere up there;’ when the child was in her arms, Mary looked down to heaven!”

Did not Jesus, through His birth, become the extraordinary answer to the prayer of the psalmist?  In Jesus Christ, the Light of God shines on us all.

The above reflection by Father Yanas was published in “The Evangelist” on December 19, 2013.

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