The holy prophets of Israel proclaimed the coming of the Messiah for centuries. Israel awaited its beloved savior for thousands of years who would tumble empires, restore peace and justice. In its very depth, every great Old Testament miracle story was the foreshadow of the ministry of Messiah. And yet, when the time came and Christ was incarnated and revealed to the world, his birth was mostly unnoticed and overlooked. After all, who would imagine that God himself would be the Messiah? Who could expect that the creator in whose presence angels are covering their faces would be born as a mere mortal, obtain life only to sacrifice it for the salvation of others, be born in a small and insignificant town, in a family that was poor and unknown, in a small, cold, dirty, stenchy and inhospitable cave intended for animals?
So it is not surprising that many never noticed the birth of the Newborn King. Countless people probably passed by that cave without ever suspecting that the creator of heaven and earth himself was there. But there were few who recognized that the inhospitable and seemingly unattractive cave contained within itself the Messiah, the saver and God himself. The shepherds and wise men represent a very diverse group of people who had nothing in common except for the fact that they saw and recognized Christ where nobody saw anything important and valuable.
Does such depiction of the birth of Christ remind of something very familiar? Every Sunday, we come together in our sanctuary to celebrate the Holy Badarak. A community of a very diverse group of people with different backgrounds and views. We hold the Nshkar high and sing ‘The one holy, the one Lord.” We repeat the words of our Lord and proclaim, ‘Take, eat; this is my body, which is distributed for you and for many’. Many might deem such faith and conviction as silly, childish, a sure sign of past trauma, unhealthy attachment, or lack of proper education. They might wonder how someone in the twenty-first century can possibly believe and accept that a simple Nshkhar made of flour and water can possibly be the true Body and Blood of someone who died on a cross two thousand years ago. To them, there must be million better ways to spend Sunday mornings and afternoons than driving to Hartford to commune with the Body and Blood of Christ. But to us this Badarak, every Badarak is an opportunity to encounter Christ himself, revealed in the chalice on our altar as he was revealed in the cave two thousand years ago. Yes, today as then, many might pass by without recognizing and being able to comprehend how God himself can be found and experienced through a cave in Bethlehem or chalice in a Hartford church. But we base our faith on the words of our Lord and every Sunday, we follow the star of Bethlehem, leading us to this sanctuary where we find our Savior who restores and strengthens us, heals our bodies and souls through his life-giving Body and Blood.