Séamus Ahearne: Who can disbelieve a world drenched in miracle?

(Pádraig Daly – Glimpsing More)

Christmas is busy; is full of memories; is childlike; is friendship-shared; is a bridging feast in winter; is nostalgic; is a packed church; is a crib and a carol; is a child we all can love; is the God we can handle; is a bundle of ‘needs’; is a hint of mystery and wonder; is a challenge for everyone. And this Christ-child speaks a strange protest. Does he feign a need? The God of history saw us forget, and felt a child was needed, for attention. That child has come; is noticed; is petted; is cuddled; is kissed. And yet can we see the child, and forget the God? The rearing of the child-God never ends; always in need; craves attention; always birthing; waits forever, to be discovered afresh. We also need to throw off the ‘prison bars’ confining and controlling our hearts and imaginations with centuries of poor theology, which led to bland worship and gave us a still-born Christ. There is no better, greater or exciting challenge now than this – to set Christ and Christmas free!

Can we see? A God daily being loved into life and laboured into birth among us; Can we see our worship as real life shared and celebrated, rather than a pedant’s paradise and lifeless? Can we see the wonder of nature taking up the story of birth each day? Can we see a breadth of vision and view in the expansiveness of Christ? Can we see the church born anew with recklessness and abandon in fostering artistic expression? Can we see all prosaic woodenness rejected? Can we see no more defensiveness, apologies, shyness or petty controls on wonder, beauty, fun and exhilaration? Our mad faith is about the foolishness of a child; the needs of a child; the awkwardness of a child and the playfulness of a child. Let that child out to play and Christmas will be celebrated. And Christ will thrive. 

Written for Christmas 2006

Comment – Christmas Eve 2023:

Even in a smashed up world where the Security Council quibbles over words while Gaza and its people are being prepared to be tomorrow’s ‘terrorists’; even while Russia wants to blow the Ukraine and its people to smithereens; even while some people in Dublin indulge in arson; even while Ross Lake Hotel in Rosscahill is burned down; even while the politicians in N Ireland refuse to be responsible for governance;  even while drones descend on shipping in the Red Sea. 

Christ still thrives.

“And nobody is an outsider to this happiness.” (Leo the Great – Office of Readings).

Words are utterly inadequate to understand the Word made flesh. Why be surprised that we cannot grasp God? Tidy your mind. Focus your heart. Prepare the eye of your heart so that it can see. Stretch your mind. Help each other find the way and the words despite the poverty of language. Listen and share together for the reasons why the Word became flesh. (St Augustine Sermon 117)

Seamus Ahearne osa                                 

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