January 26th

The Hidden Life at Bethlehem

When the Son of God first appeared among the children of men. He chose no ordinary dwelling for His birthplace. Not even the little cottage at Nazareth, not even the humblest room in the humblest of the shepherds' huts at Bethlehem, but a stable--a place quite unfit for human habitation. There it was that Mary had to take shelter, there it was that the God-made Man first saw the light of day. Compassionate Jesus and Mary on what seems to us so unworthy of the dignity of God and His Holy Mother.

Why did Jesus choose a stable for the place of His Nativity? It was not merely on account of its poverty, or the discomforts it brought with it, but also because it was of all places the last where men would naturally look for the Son of God, and therefore the one where He would most perfectly fulfill the words of Holy Scripture, "Truly Thou art a hidden God!" As He completely concealed His Divine glory under the veil of flesh, so He concealed the glory attaching to Him as Man by seeking all those circumstances where it would be most entirely out of sight. What a contrast to myself, who seek to make the most of all that I think would tend to my own honor, and exalt me in the eyes of men.

There was another reason why Jesus thus hid Himself. He desired to teach us that if we wished to live in close union with God, we must live a hidden life, far away from the busy crowd and the din and strife of human society. Even if our lot is cast in the midst of the world's din and tumult, yet in heart and desire we must seek to dwell with Jesus in the retirement of the peaceful stable at Bethlehem.

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