In this article, Sarah Pedrozo invites us to see that Christ is not so far removed from all the bustle of Christmas after all.
Amid all the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations normal to our culture these days, it is easy to be swept up into a seemingly endless list of tasks. Everything from packing and traveling, to hosting guests and dealing with varying family dynamics, not to mention the added expense of presents and charitable donations can all combine to make us overwhelmed and exhausted. Where, we might wonder, is Christ in all of this? How can we hope to truly join in the Advent preparations of getting ready in heart, mind and soul for the birth of Christ when we have so many additional demands on us? Maybe we simply wish to leave it all behind, withdraw from the world and spend Advent and Christmas in prayerful retreat. While there is no doubt that it is always a challenge to keep Him at the center of our Christmas activities in the midst of an increasingly secular society, perhaps what we need more than a change of location or activity is a change of perspective.
St. Bernard of Clarivaux wrote that, in reality, we can think of three comings of Christ. The first occurred in the stable at Bethlehem, over 2000 years ago. The 2nd Coming will take place in the future, at a time known only to God, when Christ will return in glory and majesty. But the 3rd coming is going on right now. It is the time in between the 1st and 2nd Comings, called a “ hidden intermediate coming,” when “only the elect see the Lord.” St. Bernard says that in this 3rd Coming, Christ comes “in spirit and in power.” There is a unique synthesis in activity between all three comings of the Lord. Particularly at Christmas, the activities we engage in (during the 3rd coming) reflect the 1stcoming while at the same time preparing us for the Final Coming of our Lord.