Wednesday, December 23

Jesus’ birth—Luke 2:1-5 (Common English Bible)

2 In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. 2 This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria. 3 Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled. 4 Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea. 5 He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant.

Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem in Judea because of the census.  Mary was pregnant and close to delivery. They traveled for a long distance in order to be there for what the Emperor ordered. Everyone had to go to their place of origin to get registered. It was the reason they were traveling. That was also why Mary delivered in Bethlehem. And that is the reason the angels appeared to the shepherds and said to them to “go to Bethlehem” to faithfully adore the child.

This year the travel isn’t it an exception. The pandemic has been reshaping our lives, our budgets, but also our sense of community – I am convinced – for a good. This time at home has been the trip from the sanctuary to our homes. Took time for us to understand it but we got it. And last Monday I got the certainty that we did understand it. Seeing the people at the Holiday Festival was such a remarkable sign of understanding of what this time requires from us: Being in family. Being close to each other in ways that we can be in care of us and in care of our loved ones.

That was the reason I made a long trip to Puerto Rico; not to be another tourist but to go to my country of origin because of my sense of care. Care for my parents who are old and facing some difficulties in this pandemic time. We protect our own, as Mary and Joseph protected their baby who was close to being born. Today the story of our lives gets close to the story of Mary and Joseph. We have been traveling – migrated from our one common space to the core of our lives, to the core of our beliefs, to the core of our very own people in care and support. We can’t be in the manger where Mary and Joseph got rest (and delivered) but we can make room in our homes to let the joy of the baby Jesus surround us, in total anticipation of the day we all can celebrate in the same space again. For now, let’s all come and be faithful. Let’s proclaim that a day of peace will come. Prepare the way for the lord to come. Let’s get ready to make the birth of the Baby Jesus a simple event in our hearts, and be faithful in caring for our own with faithfulness for all.

Prayer: Oh merciful God. We have being traveling so long from the space of the sanctuary in Hyde Park to the intimate spaces of our homes because of the pandemic, as our response to the love and care we hold for our very own. Let this time nurture our souls and our hearts and allow us to fill out those gaps of uncertainty with love, care, and joy, for the sake of that baby who was born and who is the reason for our reflection. AND LET US SING WITH JOY: O come, let us adore him, all ye faithful.

—by Sergio Centeno