of Christ Evelyn
The Christmas Mystery has two parts: the Nativity and the
Epiphany. A deep instinct made the Church separate these two feasts. In the
first we commemorate Gods humble entrance into human life, the emergence and
birth of the Holy, and in the second its manifestation to the world, the
revelation of the Supernatural made in that life. And the two phases concern our
inner lives very closely too.
first only happens in order that the second may happen, and the second cannot
happen without the first. Christ is a Light to lighten the Gentiles as well as
the Glory of his people Israel. Think of what the Gentile was when these words
were written - an absolute outsider. All cosy religious exclusiveness falls
before that thought.
is easy for the devout to join up with the Shepherds and fall into place at the
Crib and look out into the surrounding night and say, 'Look at those
extraordinary intellectuals wandering about after a star, with no religious
sense at all! Look at that clumsy camel, what an unspiritual animal it is! We
know the ox and the ass are the right animals to have! Look what queer gifts
and odd types of self-consecration they are bringing; not the sort of people who
come to church!'
remember that the Child who began by receiving these very unexpected pilgrims
had a woman of the streets for his faithful friend and two thieves for his
comrades at the end: and looking at these two extremes let us try to learn a
little of the height and breadth and depth of his love -and then apply it to our
was said of Fr Wainwright that he cared above all for scamps and
first point about Epiphany is that all are called and welcomed and
accepted. Our own loving adoration and deep certitude is never to break our
brotherhood with those who come longer journeys by other paths, led by a
different star. The Magi took more trouble than the Shepherds. The intellectual
virtues and intellectual longings of men are all blessed in Christ.
In our souls too the mysteries must be brought forth; we are not really Christians till that has been done. 'The Eternal Birth,' says Eckhart, 'must take place in you.' And another mystic says human nature is like a stable inhabited by the ox of passion and the ass of prejudice, animals which take up a lot of room and which I suppose most of us are feeding on the quiet. In between them, pushing them out, Christ must be born.
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