They Say

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

– Leonard Cohen

They say it wasn’t a stable, but rather a cave where Christ was born on Christmas morn.

They say Christ wasn’t born on December 25, but rather around the date of a day we know not.

They say they aren’t sure there was an ox in the stable, but rather a donkey because Mary rode upon one when traveling to and fro.

They say perhaps they aren’t sure if sheep were actually present, but rather we can be sure the shepherds brought a whiff of wool fresh from the field.

They say the wise men couldn’t have made it there the exact night of His birth, but rather somewhere along the way they did seek Him.

They say they aren’t really sure if there were three, but rather the fact that there were plural in number is the ticket to behold.

They say to leave the manger empty because He has not yet arrived, but rather wait until Christmas Day when the birth of our Savior is celebrated.

In our home we have a stable, a manger, an ox, a donkey, some sheep, and camels. We have the wise men all looking on and there are three. We have some hay, a star, an angel, and all the makings of a home away from home like a makeover just for Jesus. And in our stable Jesus rests within the manger all December long because I like it that way.

In the book of Luke, Chapter 2, they say, “Mary gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger…There were shepherds in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them saying, ‘You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’ When the angels had left… the shepherds hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.”

May you, like Mary, ponder these things in your heart as the holiness of the season invites us to enter in. Whether it be a cave in which He was born, or a stable, it matters not. What matters is that He was born. It matters not the hour, but rather, like the wise men may we become seekers of. It matters not if there was an ox but rather that we not be as stubborn as one by hardening our hearts of the good news heralded that night.

What was it they say in the book of Luke? If you read the story in print it says: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as the only begotten son of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

May we continually be wise in that which we seek. May we seek Truth in the only place it is found—in Him. Amen.

Kathleen Kjolhaug, OblSB

This article was first published in Theology in the Trenches, a column written by oblate Kathleen Kjolhaug. Posted with permission. Read more articles on her blog, Theology in the Trenches.

Photo: Our Christmas crib at Saint Benedict’s Monastery, taken by Sister Carleen Schomer