The extract below is taken from the AECI reflection 'The Hidden Strength of the Hidden Christ' found on the www.aecinstitute.org/resources page. Thanks to contributors:
Tired from extensive travelling, from anticipation, from seething regional conflict and yet both still following the instructions of the angel, Joseph and Mary are naturally drained from the physical, mental and spiritual challenges they have faced. And they wander through the streets of Bethlehem to secure rest, shelter and some comfort.
No room at the inn.
Where to turn?
Simplicity, perhaps the 'interior silence' speaking.
A light like no other burns bright across the evening skies.
Simplicity. In the 'interior silence' speaking.
A promise. And to be fulfilled.
Observant shepherds become curious as animals bleat and bray. There is an unsettling stillness. Townspeople hurry home. Far away astronomers seek patterns and prophecies. The Star shall rise slowly into the night over the small Palestinian town of Bethlehem.
Mary finds the Strength
Joseph finds the Strength.
The waiting is over.
Christ is no longer hidden. His birth in a 'lowly cattle shed' is real.
In the course of his life he will now address that which is 'hidden' and that which is 'precious' in our own nature. He will ask simply: What dwells within the human person? What avenues of 'Truth' and 'Peace' are open to us? What might we lose so as to gain the 'Kingdom of God'?
He will face persecution. And punishment.
From a conviction to uncover the 'hidden' Christ close at hand, comes a 'hidden' Strength that carries us onwards in this fragile human realm. We shall overcome. Our hatred and our anger, our fear and our despair. We shall overcome. What is hidden is revealed! And what stirs as human, as loving and good, is aligned to the presence of the ‘Eternal Thou’.