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Christmas Eve Reflection

What can I say on a night like this? Is is all very small and very large, very close and very distant, very tangible and very elusive. I keep thinking about the Christmas scene that had been arranged under the alter. This probably is the most meaningful “crib” I have ever seen. Three small wood-carved figures made in India; a poor woman, a poor man, and a small child between them. The carving is simple, nearly primitive. No eyes, no ears, no mouths, just the contours of the faces. The figurines are smaller than a human hand – nearly too small to attract attention at all. But then – a beam of light shines on the three figures and projects large shadows on the wall of the sanctuary. That says it all. The light thrown on the smallness of Mary, Joseph and the Child projects them as large, hopeful shadows against the walls of our life and our world. 

. . . Without the radiant beam of light shining into the darkness there is little to be seen. I might just pass by these three simple people and continue to walk in darkness. But everything changes with the light.

Henri Nouwen, The Genesee Diary

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