By Fr. Jim Cosgrove
Chaplain of Cornerstone of Hope and priest of the Cleveland Diocese, whose heart is on fire to serve Christ and His Church. He currently is serving Church of St. Clare in Mayfield as parochial vicar. “Stay His” is Fr. Jim’s common phrase to many as a reminder that ALL are always seen and loved in the eyes of our Heavenly Father.
I wonder what that first evening after Christmas must have been like. After the angels, after the songs, after the shepherds… when Mary and Joseph were left alone with their newborn baby boy. Was Jesus wide-eyed with questions about the world? Was Jesus crying from the cold of the night? Was Jesus sleeping in the arms of the gentlest woman in the world? My mind was always fixated on the God-child in the manger. I never stopped to think what Mary and Jospeh were thinking – until I saw a scene from the movie, The Nativity Story.
There is a point in the film where we behold the Holy Family moments after Jesus is born. Joseph is on his hands and knees, perched over the child Jesus who was just brought into this world. Mary is leaning back on a rock, holding Jesus against her body in one arm, her free hand clasping the tiny fingers of the God-child. When I paused the movie in this moment, I noticed something I had never noticed before. The peaceful faces of Mary and Joseph – tired and bewildered – perfectly mirrored the peaceful face of Jesus. And in that moment they were looking at each other, as if they were confirming – in the middle of all their questions, fully aware of how their life would be forever changed, and certainly knowledgeable of the uncertainty that would lie ahead – that they were beholding the peace for which they had always longed. They finally had the hope for which they had been waiting, and that hope wasn’t going anywhere. And their hope had a face.
When we remember our loved ones we have lost, Christmas may be a time of pain, sadness, and uncertainty. Yet, we are not forgotten. And neither are our loved ones. Christmas is the promise that Jesus came to forever account for us. He is hope made manifest in a manger Who offers us His peace and security if we remain fixed on His gaze. He may look back at us, wide-eyed at the questions we bring Him. He may look as if He is sleeping and unaware. But His Face will never take back that promise of hope. His Face tells us that, even if He may find us crying in the cold, He wasn’t going anywhere.
This Christmas, Cornerstone of Hope invites you to enter more deeply into the love of the Christ Child. His eyes will never lose any of us. His eyes are always upon us. This is why He came for you. May the Beloved Face of Jesus on Christmas bring you many blessings this year, and may He never lose our gaze.