Taking Time for Christ at Christmas

“What defense or excuse will we have when, for our sake, he comes down from heaven, but we do not even leave our nativity4homes to come to him?   The magi were strangers and foreigners from Persia.  Yet they came to see him lying in the manger.  Can you, a Christian, not bear to give a brief measure of time to enjoy this blessed sight?  If we shall present ourselves in a spirit of faith, there is no doubt but that we shall truly see him as he lies in the manger.  For the Table of this altar takes the place of the manger.     And surely the master’s body will be lying on this altar, not wrapped in swaddling clothes, as it was after his birth, but clothed all about by the Holy Spirit.  Those who have been initiated understand what I am saying.  The magi adored him, but that was all.  If your conscience is without stain when you come forward, we shall allow you even to receive that body and then to go off to your home.  Do you, therefore, come forward and bring your gifts, not such gifts as the magi brought, but gifts which are far holier and more august.  The magi brought gold; you bring a temperate and virtuous spirit.  They brought incense; you must offer pure prayers, which are the incense of the soul.  They brought myrrh; you must bring a humble and contrite heart along with alms.”  (St. John ChrysostomTHE INCOMPREHENSIBLE NATURE OF GOD)