Christmas Reflection

Christmas and No End

Even over 2000 years after Christ's birth, Incarnation has not come to an end. As long as there is time and space, people and history, Incarnation in its effect, not as cause, is an ongoing event, personal as well as collective. God's coming is offered to all peoples at all times. This is the deeper meaning of the nativity sets with our collection. They are a reflection on the many ways in which Christ has been sought and found, with a strong emphasis on seeking.

Christmas and no end. There is an old legend about seeking and finding. The wise man Artaban in his pursuit of the star misses his three friends. He misses the Christchild, too, because his pilgrimage to Bethlehem leads to strange encounters with dying soldiers, ailing beggars and poor mothers. He gives them two of his three diamonds saved for the child in the manger. After thirty-three years and many adventures he returns to Jerusalem. There, he still diligently searches for the child. Artaban, now an old man, notes an unusual commotion. Inquiring about its cause he learns that they are taking Jesus of Nazareth, who calls himself King of the Jews, to Golgotha and his death. Artaban knows instinctively that this is the king for whom he has been searching. He rushes to the scene. Alas, once again, he is sidetracked. On his way he meets a young girl being sold into slavery. His heart is moved, and he gives away his last diamond for her ransom. Just then, darkness falls over the city, and Artaban knows that his king is dead. Inconsolable, he cries out: "Thirty-three years I looked for you, Lord, but I have never seen your face or ministered to you." But then a voice comes from heaven and says: "What you did to the least of my brothers and sisters, you did it to me." Artaban's restlessness is gone. His heart grows calm and his soul peaceful. His long journey is ended. He has found his king.

Meanwhile, the story goes on for each one of us is Artaban.

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