Today is the day we celebrate the birth of an infant boy born to seemingly insignificant parents 2,000 years ago. His parents were simple and poor young couple. Yet, somehow this infant boy's history is intertwined with our story. And in order to understand how this little infant has anything to do with us, we have to understand first our own story.
In the beginning, few years before my existence, my mom went on a blind date with my dad. My mom said she was not impressed on that date, and she was going to look elsewhere. But her mother and sister insisted that she was getting too old and she needed to take this 'last chance.' After a couple of months, my mother relented to their pressure. So I almost did not exist without my grandmother and my aunt's insistence.
In the beginning, my mom was born in northern tip of North Korea before the Korean War. Her father was a judge and had a comfortable living. Then he was tortured by Japanese soldiers during occupation by Japanese; he was so traumatized by torture he no longer could work. Then the Korean War began. Her family left their house and all their property with only what they could carry on their backs. They were able to catch a US amphibious transport from the coast and was placed on an island in South Korea for several years. Because of the Korean War, my mom could have died and I never have existed. Before being pregnant with me, my mother had ovarian cancer which nearly killed her life. And the doctors told her that another pregnancy was not possible. In my mother's lifetime there were so many precarious moments where my very existence hung by threads. My mom constantly prays in thanksgiving to God for sparing her life.
When we begin to think about how we came about, we have no idea the number of moments when the possibility of our very own existence was slim. As my own story shows, my very existence depended on forces and events that I had no control over. There are some of us who are born into a loving family, but there are those who are born into a broken one. This we do not have control over. There are some who experience a tranquil life and a happy death. Yet there are some who experience loss, abuse, addiction--some of which we have control over and some which we do not. How are we to make sense of all this? What does the birthday of a little infant have anything to do with all this?
As my story shows there was an invisible hand guiding the course of events and forces which brought me into existence. To whom does this invisible hand belong to?
"In the beginning," our Gospel says today, "was the Word...and the Word was God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." This invisible hand belonged to God. Everything about our life came to be through Him. We may not have been aware of this mystery, so He becomes visible to us on this day. The Gospel continues, "And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth."
If we think about it, our life span is only about 80 years. Yet to orchestrate this short 80 years of life, God had to orchestrate generations upon generations before us in order for us to come into existence. Why does God orchestrate all this so that we can exist? The only thing that explains this is love. John 3:16 says, "God so loved the world that He sent His only Son."
How are we to respond to this love? I will summarize in three mandates. First, come, let us adore Him. Come and see the Savior who has lovingly orchestrated my life from the very beginning. Come and adore the Lord of my life and learn of him. Secondly, come, follow me. Answer the call to be a disciple. Learn to grow in virtues and reject the temptations of devil and of this world. Finally, come be my light. He has entrusted his very own life and light in us. We are to carry this light to overcome the darkness of this world.
Come, let us adore Him.
Come, follow Me.
Come, be My Light.