The scene of Jesus’ birth is full of numerous spiritual lessons that can impact every aspect of our spiritual lives.
Pope Benedict XVI reflected on the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in a homily in 2011, pointing out the physical limitations of the door and how it used to allow kings to enter on horses:
Today, anyone wishing to enter the Church of Jesus’ Nativity in Bethlehem will find that the doorway five and a half meters high, through which emperors and caliphs used to enter the building, is now largely walled up. Only a low opening of one and a half meters has remained. The intention was probably to provide the church with better protection from attack, but above all to prevent people from entering God’s house on horseback.
This lowering of the door has a profound spiritual lesson, as Pope Benedict XVI explains:
Anyone wishing to enter the place of Jesus’ birth has to bend down. It seems to me that a deeper truth is revealed here, which should touch our hearts on this holy night: if we want to find the God who appeared as a child, then we must dismount from the high horse of our “enlightened” reason.
The key to finding God at Christmas is to “bend down,” both physically and spiritually:
We must bend down, spiritually we must as it were go on foot, in order to pass through the portal of faith and encounter the God who is so different from our prejudices and opinions – the God who conceals himself in the humility of a newborn baby. In this spirit let us celebrate the liturgy of the holy night, let us strip away our fixation on what is material, on what can be measured and grasped. Let us allow ourselves to be made simple by the God who reveals himself to the simple of heart.
As we celebrate Christmas, may we get off our “high horse” to let God into our lives.