Fifth Day within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord, 29 December 2020
In today’s reflection, Waiting in Joyful Hope author Michelle Francl-Donnay reflects on 1 John 2:3, Simeon’s recognition of the Lord, and following the second great commandment.
In the comments section below, share your own response to today’s scripture, Francl-Donnay’s reflection, or the accompanying meditation prompt.
To me, Jesus looks like all people who are hurting in any way. Especially today those who are sick with the virus, those who are caring for those who are sick, those who have lost their jobs and are about to lose their homes. Those who are hungry and those essential workers who put their health on the line every day to serve others. Jesus looks like people in third world countries that may not get the vaccine for years.
He is about four years old, and he is asleep. It’s been a hard day; there have been tears and frustrations. He is sitting on my lap, and his damp cheek rests against my arm. I rest my nose on the top of his head and think, “His hair needs washing.” There is dirt in the creases of his palms, which now rest open and relaxed. This child needs a bath. I glance up and see that his Mother has caught me inspecting him. She is holding in her lap my own small child, also slumbering quietly, all fractiousness released for now. She smiles and whispers, “It’ll wait until tomorrow.” And we settle back on our bench, the stone wall behind us an uncomfortable pillow as we make of our bodies better cushions for these tired little ones. It’s okay. I am holding the Savior of the world.
This is just one of the pictures that enters my mind when I ask Jesus to reveal himself. Sometimes instead of a small hand dirty from a day of playing, I see fingers opened to receive an iron nail, and I turn away but am still jolted by the thump and ring of the hammer. Other times—my favorite times—I see him crouched by a charcoal fire on a beach, turning the sizzling fish, and hear him say, “Come have breakfast.”
I do see Jesus in my family members, and in the people of my parish and community. But I’m especially grateful for these glimpses into the human life of the God who loved us enough to dwell with us, to provide us with a model to imitate.