Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI

A star shall advance

A star shall advance
Christmas is about our Savior's birth -- and more  
“I see him, though not now; I behold him, but not near. A star shall advance from Jacob, and a staff shall rise from Israel.” (Numbers 24:17a)

by Sister Elise Cholewinski

Hundreds of years before the birth of Christ someone looked upon the Jewish people, a small nation influenced by one mighty empire after another, and recognized how precious that people was. “How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, your encampments, O Israel.” (Numbers 24:5) This person then predicted that a star would advance from Jacob. These words speak of hope and anticipation.

The mystery we celebrate is an invitation, a call, a challenge, to allow the Christ to be born in us ...

As we move toward the final days of Advent, what do we see and hear? We see the destruction left in the path of deadly tornadoes, helpless people waiting at our borders, businesses closing for lack of employees, countries ravaged by war, ships with cargo waiting is the sea. Amid the cries of protestors and the rhetoric of politicians we hear the anxious voices of people wondering if the shipments of their Christmas gifts will arrive on time.

Christmas is much more than a celebration of the birth of Jesus. It is a solemn feast that calls us to recognize once more that our God took on human flesh, to embrace again the reality that God lived among us. We then bow in humble adoration.

The Incarnation was not a one-time event. The mystery we celebrate is an invitation, a call, a challenge, to allow the Christ to be born in us, to speak through us, to heal through us, to raise up a hopeless people through us. Can we be a living Incarnation? If so, then the Star will surely advance. Then it can be said, “I see him now; I behold him here.”  

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