By Fr. David Thayer, P.S.S.
Once, not and upon, but in the fullness of time, the Trinity
turned its internal conversation to the subject of humanity. “What more
can we do for them?” asked the Father. “They never seem to get the
message about how deeply we (or is it I? – I can never get this being/person
thing grammatically correct) love them. They keep on missing the point, trying
to buy our love rather than simply enjoying it.”
“I know,” said the Son, “there is only one
thing left we can do. I will become one of them. I know that that will further
confuse this being/person language, but it is the only way they will truly
begin to understand that we only want to be one with them. I’m the best
candidate for the job, for I am the Word through which not only everything was
created, but by which humanity defines itself.”
The Trinity smiled at this, because they immediately knew
that the only way the Word could fully express God’s union with humanity was by
taking on the silence of an infant – God’s powerlessness was the only power
through which human beings would understand the depths of God’s desire.
So the Spirit set out to touch the longing of human hearts
with the hope of promise fulfilled in prophecy.
“But you can’t go just as a baby,” the Father
declared. “You’ll have to go as a king. Only then will they understand
that we mean what we say. Human beings like to listen to the voices of
authority. They give them an assurance of security.”
“But, if l go as a king. I’ll be trapped in politics
and court intrigue,” responded the Son. “I’ll never get the message
of our love out to the people who really need to hear it, the poor and the oppressed.
After all, isn’t that part of why I need to become silent, so the silent can
speak and be heard?”
The Trinity pondered this dilemma for almost an instant – a
long time by divine standards, until the Father decided, “What if you were
born in a stable? That could be your palace, a palace where the poor are surely
Hearing this, the Trinity grinned at the irony. In poverty
humanity would find profligacy.
So the Spirit set out and whispered an inspiration into the
heart of Caesar Augustus, “It’s time for a census of the whole
“You’ll still need some courtiers,” contended the
Father. “You can’t be a king without being surrounded by an entourage.
“But, then we’ll have the same problem,” replied
the Son. “Royal visitors will insist that I be moved immediately to the
protection of some castle. Castles are signs of humanity’s fear, especially of
war. But I can only go with the message of peace. Only when people embrace
peace with all their hearts will they find freedom, the freedom to love even
the stranger. Anything other than that would deny the unity of who we
“So, we’ll make the courtiers shepherds and the
advisors magicians and foreigners,” responded the Father, with an
omniscience that resolved impossible dilemmas all the time. “Neither will
have the power to make you conform to their wishes. We’ll meet their
expectations by giving them the unexpected. People think shepherds are too
uneducated to know anything, even if we know better; and who ever listens to
At this, the Trinity chuckled. The idea of country bumpkins
having mastered royal etiquette and ivory tower types convincing others about
what they knew was positively slapstick. But then, so was the message that the
extraordinary is always best found in the ordinary.
So the Spirit rushed forth with orders for the angels.
“We’ll need new hymns of praise, and a bright new star. Polish them both
until they positively shine.”
When everything was ready, in the stillest moments of the
night – the best time for theophanies – shepherds stumbled over themselves as
they tried to squeeze into a backwater hovel. Wise men set out in haste,
forgetting their lunches, to follow a star. Angel choruses filled the heavens
with song to accompany the divine birth giving laughter.
When the Father and the Spirit looked down upon a sleeping
infant, stirring in his sleep with the seed of a dream forged in eternity, they
were overcome with silence. And as they gazed upon the rapt contemplation of
Mary as she beheld her child and saw the fugue in the expression of Joseph as he
sought a not so distant future, they smiled. The silence of those two in all
this cacophony meant that they understood and would parent the message until he
would be engraved in the hearts of all.