Monday, December 22, 2014

Our Nativity Rose

Lo, how a rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung,
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung 
O Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
Dispel with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere…
                from Es Ist Ein Ros’ Entsprungen, 15th century German hymn, 
                translated by Theodore Baker

How do we lay hold of the beauty of Emmanuel?

How do we rise above and see beyond the solidity of matter, the dynamism of energy, the logic of reason, the insight of intuition, the sorrow of the soul, the occupation of our intent? Do we embrace our need, our doubt, our trust, our scope… our nativity all in a moment?

Flush with the Word and His word, do we grip confessions like polished banisters that segregate mineral cathedrals into naves and vaults, locked expressions of faith: fa├žade and genuflection? Or do we let go the exhaustion of anxiety from the pursuit of our most earnest desires and feel it slide from our shoulders onto the floor like winter air pouring down from clerestory skylights?

We look up and feel it caress our head and chill our feet until we are baptized afresh, as though suddenly kneeling in a soft, bracing snowfall of joy and light, our ears and face aglow like the rose, the heat of our blood rising to meet our spirit. And there in our nativity, a rosy bloom of love and hope radiates from the manger, His tiny translucent hand reaches out, beautiful in form, and we cannot do else but grasp it in our own. Then a holy pain from His palm to ours ascends within us, His blood rising to meet His Spirit in our very being.

Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel… until the Son of God appears.
Rejoice! Rejoice!