Thanks to the evangelists, we can read the main teachings and actions of Jesus throughout his life. I believe, however, that Jesus spoke more than ever as a newborn in the manger in Bethlehem, when he had not yet learned to communicate with words. He was the Word made into man, as St. John says: “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14).
From the manger, Jesus speaks of the immense love God the Father has for his creation, to the point of becoming one of us. Wrapped in swaddling clothes, Jesus preaches with refined eloquence about trusting the wisdom of God, contrasting with simple human logic.
With his babbling in the stable, Jesus gives a masterful presentation on social inequalities and external appearances. Surrounded by animals, this new baby proclaims his unity with the goodness of all creatures. His silent birth in an unknown village heralds a new regime in the known world, which makes the established rulers tremble.
The fragile little hands of that newborn scratching the air, searching for contact, gives us a speech about the need we have of others to learn to be human. Those restless tiny feet explain how necessary it is to walk through the world to encounter other distant men and women.
That tiny naked body gives us a lecture on complete trust in providence, on absolute detachment from any worldly possessions, on the purity, beauty and dignity of a human being, created in the dark sacredness of a maternal womb.
Accompanied by Mary and Joseph, that baby exposes the beauty of the family, which offers protection and support in any environment. The visit of the wise men from the east allows the newborn to emphasize without words the universal unity of humanity.
The majestic presence of that infant proclaims his reign over all creation in such a way that a legion of angels burst into his presence manifesting the joy of God and announcing blessings of peace to the world. All thanks to that little preacher who sends a thunderous message without words.
That baby has been preaching without words for 2,000 years. Jesus continues to learn to speak through each baby that comes into this world, continues to preach a message of love from God for his creatures and his trust in them, continues to preach hope in each mother who contemplates in awe the mystery of new life growing in her womb and wishes to be part of that message in a future that begins at that moment.
Let us celebrate that for 2,000 years the Word has become flesh to speak of the love of God for our humanity. In this season, let each baby preach to us as Jesus did, reminding us that the love of God continually becomes flesh among us, to be joyfully embraced.
A holy and merry Christmas to everyone.
Northwest Catholic - December 2020
Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., is auxiliary bishop of Seattle and vicar for Hispanic ministry.
Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., es obispo auxiliar de Seattle y vicario para el ministerio hispano.Website: www.seattlearchdiocese.org/Archdiocese/auxiliaries.aspx