In the Incarnation contemplation of the Second Week of the Spiritual Exercises, the director may hope that the retreatant picks up or is given the Baby Jesus to hold. This is a personal and up close moment if it happens. Many of us are afraid to pick up babies while others are jokingly called baby-hogs when they won’t share. I remember my own experience of Mary gently surrendering her Son to me, laying Him in my arms, smiling tenderly as she did. I could smell that new baby sweetness as His breathing and mine synchronized. I could feel every fibre of my being calm as I breathed in and out with this Infinite Infant. I watched this Child with wonder and awe. He stared back at me so intently.
I held Love in my arms that night. The odd thing was is that in holding this Wee Bundle I knew I was being held as I had been so many times before. The Creator has held me when I am broken, when I need to sit instead of run, and when I am rejoicing and deserve a heavenly hug. As this creature held that Tiny-God-In-Human-Form everything else faded away. The One who had made me was in my arms–MY arms! Do we really fathom that Love came down and walked amongst us? Can I comprehend that Jesus might have been passed around by Mary’s cooing friends like we do with the babies in our own lives?
In a world still so in need of Love, pray that our hearts would be open this Christmas to serve and to bless. Take a moment to gather Peace by holding this baby in your imagination and seeing what happens. What does Jesus want to give you this Christmas? He knows what you need even before you ask. Equally as important, as you hold this Holy Child, what do you want to give to Him?
All the candles on the Advent wreath are lit and tomorrow night many of us will gather to celebrate that Love came down and walked amongst us. Love is not some far away deity. Love is up close and personal. Love longs for you. Will you long for Love as we approach the cradle?