Today’s rosary meditation is the Third Joyful Mystery — The Nativity. We reflect and pray on Jesus’ humble birth in a stable. This is an important mystery to focus on, not just during the Christmas season, but throughout the year. The nature of Jesus’ birth sets the stage for how He lived His life and provides a foundation for His teachings. The Nativity provides us a clear picture on how Jesus calls us to live.
When I think of this mystery the first word that comes to my mind is “humility.” Jesus came into this world in the humblest of surroundings. Hundreds of miles away from Rome, the seat of power in this world, the true king of kings was born. He was born without money, riches, or any earthly power. He was born surrounded by peasant shepherds, not a royal court. This humble birth was no accident as it showed from the very beginning that Jesus’ ways were not the world’s ways. His mission was not one of earthly conquest and accumulation of power nor was it to bring the Jews out of the submission of the Romans. Instead, He showed us the living a humble and meek life was His way and the only path to His Heavenly kingdom.
I think Jesus’ humble birth contrasts nicely with another word usually associated with Christmas — “trappings.” The dictionary defines that word as “outward decoration or dress; ornamental equipment.” I see the trappings of Christmas all over in the amount of money spent on presents, decorations, clothes, and food. But it’s not only Christmas were we seem to put a premium on the trappings of life. Many of us tend to focus all year long on living in a nice home, driving a fancy car, and having that dream job. While none of that is bad in itself, when we start to put the comforts of this world above the rewards of the next we move away from how Jesus lived His life and how He calls us to live ours. The trappings of this life literally trap us into living only for this world which amount to absolutely nothing in Jesus’ Heavenly kingdom.
So let us pray that we have the strength to live as Jesus did — humbling and meekly. Let us pray for the strength to not put our earthly desires ahead of our Heavenly needs. In the end God will not judge us based on the cars we drive, the value of our stock portfolio, or what position we held at our jobs. Those are just the trappings of this world, the ornamental decorations, while how well you followed Jesus’ path is the real substance. Let us meditate and pray this mystery of the rosary that we can embrace Jesus’ ways as manifested in the Nativity.