When I was a little boy, I often remember being told to only speak when I was spoken to—in other words, “Children should be seen and not heard.” I always had trouble with that old canard; I suppose I always had “something” to say and I figured someone should listen. Children are like that: seeking and needing attention. Sometimes it’s “cute” and sometimes it can be annoying.
In a homily concerning the Holy Family of Nazareth, delivered in 2005 (30 December 2005), His Holiness, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI offered a similar insight for our consideration. He reminded us that God does not impose Himself, He never uses force to enter our lives; rather, the Pope notes that God asks, as child does, to be welcomed. In a certain sense, God too presents Himself in need of attention: He waits for us to open our hearts to Him, to take care of Him.
The innocence and vulnerability of a child is one of the most important elements that we learn in our contemplation of Christmas—of the Incarnation itself. Amazingly, God makes Himself vulnerable to us and for us.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC #460) takes us further into the mystery as it teaches us that “the Word became flesh,” to make us “partakers of the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:4). “For this is why the Word became man: so that man by entering into communion with the Word, and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.” (St. Ireneus)
St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas offered similar teaching, helping us to ponder that as God wanted us to be sharers in His divinity, He in His humanity might make men more like gods.
God speaks in simplicity and example. As we listen at Christmas, and all throughout the year in holiness and the practice of the sacramental life of the Church, we become more childlike, closer to the image of the Child—the Man Jesus. Listen in stillness and peace and have a Blessed Christmas.