Contemplating the Crib

Contemplating the Crib
by Sr. Esme da Cunha

This Christmas Season, let us take some time off to contemplate the Crib. Don’t just be taken up by its aesthetic beauty. There’s a much deeper beauty we can discover.

Mary’s Contemplation

My son … flesh of my flesh. How did all this happen? Why did God choose me of all people? This little, helpless baby … my God!

The angel had said it … He shall be called the Son of the Most High God. How can God Almighty be contained in this little body?

He will be the Prince of Peace. How much our world needed that peace, in Mary’s time and more so in ours today! Let’s pray for our Country in particular!

His kingdom will have no end! –It is over two thousand years from then –Where is that kingdom? If at all, things seem to be going from bad to worse, as the centuries roll on.

He shall be called Jesus, God with us! But all that Mary saw was just an ordinary baby, poor and cold, no place in the inns, born in a smelly stable amid animals!

He comes for the rise and downfall of many! – What will His life be like? What will God, His Father expect from Him? How will He save the world, His world? Mary kept asking her questions. But there were no answers. She had to believe in faith. What she beheld held no answers for her. Nothing extraordinary or spectacular in that stable! If at all, it only spoke of neglect, rejection, indifference, poverty and squalor.

Mary looked up. Some ragged shepherds had come in to see the babe. They said that they had seen some angels, heard their message. But there were no angels or messages for Mary. Hers was to be an adoration in naked faith. She would have to see but not understand. A woman of faith, her life and His wrapped in a mystery that would unfold slowly, bit by bit … until the cruelty of the Cross and the victory of an empty tomb. Mary had to repeat her ‘Yes’ to God at every step of the way.

Joseph’s Contemplation

That baby is real, but seems ordinary, in every way. God, why did you choose me for all this? How could I have doubted Mary, her innocence and purity?  How did I ever think of setting her aside? Abandoning her to her fate? Thank you a hundred times for telling me: Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife! That much I understood. But then ‘For that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit?’ What does that mean? I promise you that I will take care of Mary and the Baby even if it costs me my life. I will be a father to Him, to whatever extent I am capable of. Teach me how to do that. Guide me. Help me to love and protect Mary, Your chosen sinless one. And Joseph looked long at the baby and the beloved young mother. What beauty, and yet what fragility … he had nothing to offer them better than this wretched stable.

The Holy Family! The baby sleeps. He seems comfortable even in that inhospitable manger. The mother tries her best to keep Him warm. They had so little … such extreme poverty.

Yet even today we have our cribs! A poor beggar woman gave birth to her child under the railway bridge the other day. People passed by. Nobody seemed to care or even to notice. Her husband went to beg for some food, some money. Some few coins … not enough even for one meal. History repeats the mystery of that stable in Bethlehem. Jesus is born again and again in a hostile, uncaring world. The poor mother suffers from malnutrition and exposure. The man is jobless and hapless.

What part are we playing in this mystery that keeps repeating itself on our streets every day?

No need to make a ‘crib’. It is here already. Can you see it?