Christmas is always regarded as for children, of being like children. What a joy to always remember that God the Almighty chose to become human like us – who likes to always pretend being like Him and powerful – that the path to true greatness and power is in becoming small like an infant, being like a child. The late Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar claims in his last book shortly before he died in 1988 that the central mystery of Christianity is our “transformation from world-wise, self-sufficient ‘adults’ into abiding children of the Father of Jesus by the grace of the Holy Spirit. All else in the Gospel, from the Incarnation of the Lord to His hidden and public lives, His miracles and preaching, His Passion, Death and Resurrection has been for this, of becoming like a child” (Unless You Become Like This Child, Ignatius Press, 1991).
This probably explains why we adults as we mature and age, we mellow: we realize that we cannot simply control everything. That it is always best to act than to react in almost every situation in life. The gospel tells us today how King Herod reacted furiously after realizing the Magis have tricked him that he ordered the murder of every male child in Bethlehem below the age of two for fears of the “newborn king of Israel.” Herod lived in constant fears of being deposed in power that he also had three of his sons as well as some of his ten wives killed after suspecting them of trying to overthrow him. It is crazy but very true! We may not be like Herod with the way we react and deal with our many fears but have the same effects: death of friendships, death of love, death of everything, the end of life and adventure.
Fear is not totally negative; it has its good effects that have actually led mankind to every great progress in life like the discovery of new lands and territories, new medicines, new inventions and other things. Fear becomes a liability when it prevents us to trust more like little children. Kids and young people are often “positively” fearless because they trust so much that nobody would hurt them or that nobody would forsake them. As we age, our fears increase because our trust decreases: we fear so many things because we are afraid of losing the little we have, we are afraid of getting hurt, we are afraid of starting all over again. That’s the irony of life: we start fearing almost nothing that we grow so fast but as we age, we begin to fear everything that we stop growing and stop living. Christmas is a beautiful reminder to be children again like God the Son Jesus Christ who entrusted Himself to us, to care Him, to love Him, to protect Him, to keep Him. Let us reclaim that childhood again by casting away our fears so we can truly love faithfully and freely!