Many of us will gather with our families and friends, to celebrate a season that brings us together! We exchange gifts, we create more memories, we relish in those things that are priceless. Yet, this is only the surface level. If we dig deep enough, we will find what is at the heart of all this gathering: Word.
God spoke. In that speaking came words that created cosmos, galaxies, stars, light and darkness. His word spoke into existence the enormity of the universe! Yet, in a particular place the Word created the earth and called into being his most prized creation: man and woman.
Though we have wandered, God desired to dwell with us, so his Word took on a new existence and became a baby! We see in Duccio’s work how Isaiah (R) and Ezekiel (L) bookend this scene of utter humility as prophets who foretold of this coming … the coming of love into the world when “justice will flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever” (Psalm 72).
The angels seem to dance around the cave, declaring the coming of a Savior to the poor shepherds and singing the praises of God.
Joseph protects those in the cave, quiet defender, and terror of demons.
At the heart of this icon is the enormous image of Mary — servant of the Lord. She is larger than all the other characters in order to emphasize her role in salvation history … and there, in the heart of poverty — the WORD incarnate.
Words expressed are very important during this time of the year. They acknowledge love, affirmation, the giving of gifts. Yet, Word encountered is the very experience of Love … Why is this important? Because Love is what we are made for, Love is what transforms us to be what we were made to be …. adopted into the life of God.
A final note from Abbot Jeremy in his book “Theology at the Eucharistic Table”
The Spirit who molded a body for the Word in the womb of the virgin Mary, the Spirit who raised the body of Jesus from the dead – this same Spirit now fills the gifts which the Church has brought and makes them to be one same thing: the body formed from Mary’s body, the body raised from the dead. And this is not some static body. It is the body crucified and risen which, standing at the right hand of the Father, forever offers itself to him in an hour which does not pass away. In the Spirit death disappears, and the body of Christ, formed from the whole cosmose and the whole of history, rises alive from the tomb and passes over to the right hand of the Father.