Our little church was decorated beautifully for Christmas Eve Mass. Poinsettias around the Tabernacle, oil lanterns on the small shelves by the windows, golden drapes, and an elaborate crèche in front of the altar. The crowd was small but reverent. All, that is, save one.
The three-year-old soon became restless. He got noisy enough that his mommy decided he needed to leave the premises, at least for a while. The priest was giving his homily and the young mother did her best to hustle the child out the door as quickly and quietly as possible. But her plans were thwarted when the little boy bellowed, “I wanna see Jesus!”
Mommy stopped in her tracks when Father Pat interrupted himself to call out the child’s name. “Rocker?” (No, I am not making this up. His name is Rocker.) “Do you want to see Jesus? It’s all right; you can come up here and see Jesus. I’ll just keep talking, OK?” And as Father preached on, Rocker and his mother approached the crèche. She knelt down next to him and he studied the tableau for a long time. At last, satisfied for the moment, he returned to his seat.
The Mass continued and I heard these words in the Preface: “…For on the feast of this awe-filled mystery, though invisible in his own divine nature, he has appeared visibly in ours…” He has appeared. The invisible has become visible. For the first time, we can see him.
I wish I could tell you Rocker was a cheerful cherub through the rest of the service, but it was past his bedtime. He finally had a toddler meltdown and was whisked away — this time all the way away. I wish I could tell you that when we see Jesus it so changes our lives that we always obey him gladly. But we, too, have our meltdowns. We disappoint Jesus, others and ourselves. Yet we return to the manger because His love draws us, and because we are filled with wonder. The invisible made visible. May we always say with Rocker, “I want to see Jesus.”