What Child is this, who laid to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping?
I am by the manger. All is calm, all is bright. All is silent this holy night.
A manger moment. It could happen during a few rare minutes of quiet prayer before the day begins, in the moments after reception of communion or perhaps in the silence of the adoration chapel. Maybe you have just laid down your head to sleep, or a rosary brings you to the third joyful mystery, the Nativity. Manger moments are like graces that come when the heart is open, and sometimes when it is least expected. But divinity comes where it is least expected. It comes to a heart that is humbled, a heart that is quiet, still, and ready to listen.
My mind and heart begin to contemplate the Christmas miracle. God has come to be one with us. I‘ve heard it a million times. But somehow in this manger moment, a grace given allows me to know He’s one with us. He’s one with me.
I imagine myself leaning down to step into the cave stable…to leave the dark and noisy streets behind me and enter into this sanctuary. I feel unworthy, and yet, beckoned to come nearer. Maybe I should just remain back here behind the animals and lurk awhile in the shadows. No, but someone is calling me. He is calling me. His infant body, already suffering from the chill, cries out. As if I could help? Is He saying He needs me? So I step a little closer into the light. My heart is yearning to go and adore Him.
The closer I come to this Child in the manger, the less the fear grips me. I think I am losing myself. (Those who lose their life will save it.) There is something more important than me here. And if any doubt remains in me like a snake slithering close to prevent my worship, His Mother is swift to crush his head, and takes my hand to draw me nearer. Joseph too, guards the whole stable, and protects His Holy Family which now includes me. For this baby is my brother. He comes to restore my creation. So approachable is the Inapproachable Light! How could He be anything other than True Love? A marriage of God and mankind….and I can feel this oneness. My heart‘s one desire is to hold him….to feel his heart beat next to mine. Our Lady lovingly hands Him to me, and the joy swells up in my heart. A mystery- this time by the manger. A moment among many in this Christmas season. But one that sustains all the others. It seems vital that I return here again. I promise this Child that I will.
But for now, I must leave this manger. For He does not allow this grace to be hidden. Our only natural response is to share Him….for all those who’ve yet to stop by the manger need to know.
Wishing all of you at Catholic Mom many manger moments this Christmas!
Copyright 2012 Cynthia Ann Costello
About the Author
Cindy Costello is a praying wife and mom who is settling into her empty nest. More than fall trees and caramel lattes, she loves a pen hitting paper to create something unique and beautiful for God. Cindy is challenging herself intellectually and getting ready for Career #2 by pursuing a MA in Theology. And on the side she gives parish talks and retreats , specializing in Theology of the Body and all things Catholic! Visit her website at CindyACostello.com.