Anticipating Christmas ~ Third Week
Dear old and new friends,
In the breathtaking splendor of our evolving universe ever birthing new star-furnaces and constructing new planets from the dust of death stars is melodically heard that old Christmas carol, Venite, adoremus—Come, let us adore! From the earliest millenniums humans have felt that compelling urge to prostrate themselves in adoration before the wondrous in their lives…the inexplicability of dancing fire, the zigzagging bolts of lightning or the awesome birthing of a child. Religion’s appearance provided adoration of the gods and goddesses in sacred caves, and later in temples. Then simple humans, when they became Kings, cleverly used this primal desire by making it a ritual befitting them.
Today rare are the opportunities to express that primordial instinct to adore. Yet when walking down a city sidewalk that innate urge is awakened by store loud speakers playing the carol’s call, Venite, adoremus! No need to rush into the nearest church to bow or kneel; just open your eyes! This call to adore is appropriate when city buildings and homes are outlined in strings of glittering colored lights. When trees bare of leaves are dazzling with clouds of twinkling white lights as if small galaxies were nesting in their branches, we can respond, “The world is charged with the grandeur of God!” (as wrote Gerald Manley Hopkins). This holy magnificence, while present every day, is made more apparent in this Christmas season of lights. Let us strive to pray every day, not just on those of December, with Christmas-tide eyes so to see the common and ordinary electrified with the splendor of God’s Presence.
We are anticipating Christmas, the Feast of the Incarnation…of God assuming human flesh along with all of its emotions and implications, including death. This winter feast celebrates God’s consecration of creation, saying Hoc est Corpus Meum, which his Bethlehem-born son at his Last Supper echoes over bread, This is My Body! We constantly struggle to comprehend the profound implications for us of Christmas’s incarnation that absolutely nothing in this world is profane or secular!
The priest, paleoanthropologist, poet and prophet, Teihard de Chardin, wrote in his Divine Milieu, “By means of all created things, without exception, the divine assails us, penetrates us and molds us. We imagined it as distant and inaccessible, whereas in fact we live steeped in its burning layers…the world, this palpable world, which we were wont to treat with the boredom and disrespect with which we habitually regard places with no sacred association for us, is in truth a holy place (emphasis mine), and we did not know it. Venite, adoremus.”
Let chiming Christmas bells awaken us from our relentless slumber to embrace the reality that we live truly in a wonderland, a world electrified and charged with the Divine Grandeur. So aroused, let us with Braille belief daily greet this world with adoration’s other meanings: passionate loving and wonder-filled admiration.