In the social networks I came across the picture “The Virgin Mary with Child”, painted by Jennie McNeely. I was immediately enchanted, and was overcome by a state of almost ecstasy! Observing the transformations in Mary’s pregnant body reminded me of the women who gave birth to my daughters and my son… The maternal beauty appears in the breasts full of milk, the enlarged womb, the sleepy look…
This vision of Mary close to the birth puts us in direct contact with the central Christmas message: God became human through Jesus of Nazareth! In the words of St. John the apostle: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1:14).
Sadly as Christians we have difficulty in recognizing Jesus as an authentic human being. For many, Jesus had to be a little less human than us in order to be God. This is nothing new, in one on St. John’s letters he warns: many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world.” (2 John 1:7).
The problem with this way of thinking is that it presents a twisted Christ, unable to truly understand our reality. (Hebrews 4:15). And this takes from us a clearer and more beautiful understanding of Jesus, born in Bethlehem, inhabitant of the little village of Nazareth. A person like you and me, a socially situated human being, a “political creature”.
I would like to quote a text from Chris Chivers in which he rememberes the comment of his son when he hears a child crying in church. “That was the sound that God’s son made when he came into the world.” (Letters to Johnny). Another attractive and powerful artistic image which compliments the first. We need to consider it.
With the Gospel readings, with the beautiful painting by Jennie McNeely and the words of Chris, I hope we can find this totally human Christ, Emmanuel – God with us. And my he help us maintain hope in this enormous past we have ahead of us: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (João 16:33).
+Saulo Maurício de Barros