Behold Him, born on a bleak night in the town of Bethlehem, on the outskirts of the city, in the dark and in the cold. There He lay in the manger, a baby so vulnerable, so little, so dependent and so in need, yet oh the marveling wonder to believing eyes, that the salvation of the whole world rested upon this tiny, fragile frame. This is the One whose goings forth were from of old, the One through whom all things were made. The One to whom all the heavenly hosts from all eternity past cried “Holy, holy, holy” ten thousand times ten thousand times unendingly. Now this One, in the fullness of time, from the bosom of the Father came to the meanness of this cave. The Word became flesh and was born of a virgin in the city of David, in the little town of Bethlehem. Oh glorious word “became,” containing the mystery of the ages…that God took on flesh and dwelt among us. The promised Star came forth, the Dayspring from on high appeared, and on this holy night, the Light of the world shone forth over a deeply darkened horizon. Immanuel was born.
One of my favorite quotes on the coming of Immanuel:
My Jesus, supreme and true God! What has drawn Thee from heaven to be born in a cold stable, if not the love which Thou bearest us men? What has allured thee from the bosom of Thy Father, to place Thee in a hard manger? What has brought Thee from Thy throne above the stars to lay Thee down on a little straw? What has led Thee from the midst of the nine choirs of angels, to set Thee between two animals? Thou, who inflamest the seraphim with holy fire, art now shivering with cold in this stable! Thou, who settest the stars in the sky in motion, canst not now move unless others carry Thee in their arms! Thou, who givest men and beasts their food, hast need now of a little milk to sustain Thy life! Thou, who art the joy of heaven, dost now whimper and cry in suffering! Tell me who has reduced Thee to such misery? “Love has done it,” says Saint Bernard. The love which Thou bearest us men has brought all this on Thee.
– Calvin Miller, The Book of Jesus, p 226 (quoting St. Alphonsus Liguori)