Fr Ralph de Hahn: Seeking the Child
A reflection by Fr Ralph de Hahn
All philosophy finds its limitations; all theology is confounded, all history is startled and given a new meaning when the Almighty God speaks one word one Word only. And that Word was made flesh and came to dwell among us.
We are reflecting on a Love which we shall never understand until we see this Divine Love face to face.
In the musical Man of La Mancha, we hear of the impossible dream, we sing of the unreachable star. We try gazing into inaccessible light seeking the face we cannot possibly know. We wonder why even the angels and prophets are so thrilled and rejoice over some mysterious undertaking of the Almighty Father and Creator.
We grapple with the contradiction of Life being born from death. We kneel speechless before a baby born in a stable the only Son of God who becomes the Son of Man so that the son of man may become the son of God.
We are baffled, confused, intrigued by such unspeakably humble love which defies our understanding, our pride and human reasoning. Behold, the mystery of Christmas!
Indeed, for those who, in faith, truly believe in the message of the Word made flesh, born of a Virgin, no explanation is necessary. But for those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.
While Christians all over the earth kneel in adoration, the commercial world is wrapped up in a passing phase of so-called celebrations, not really knowing what they are celebrating, or why; not knowing the significance of offering gifts; not knowing the awful significance of the lit-up tree; or why the angels and all the earth rejoice.
Christmas is the birthday of New Life. We speak of the Incarnation, yet this wonderful event is not an event of the past. It continues daily in our lives, it is an unceasing motion of divine giving, of unending love, of Christ being born into the lives of millions all over this stubborn world; even breaking hearts that he may enter in!
As Christians and living witnesses of this extraordinary mystery, we must be ever deeply grateful for this gift of faith it is truly a gift. Yet we must never be satisfied with knowing of him and believing in him. Rather like the Magi from the East, we must continue to seek this Child born in Bethlehem, until we truly find him! Not the false Christ presented by world powers and godless rulers but the only Son of God who brings his peace, justice, hope and a new way of loving.
As human beings we have only a little peep into a colossal mystery so astonishing, incomprehensible, so simple yet so majestic, of love divine made flesh. We are challenged in faith by this impossible dream, this unreachable star. And all because a beautiful young maiden said yes to God’s request.
Let us conclude with St Anselm urging us to go on seeking him:
Teach me to seek you, and reveal yourself to me as I seek;
because I can neither seek you if you do not teach me how;
nor find you unless you reveal yourself to me;
Let me seek you in desiring you;
Let me desire you in seeking you;
let me find you in loving you;
let me love you in finding you.